Botswana has issued more work permits in the construction and agriculture sectors than any other sector in the past few years, latest labour markets data compiled by the government statistics agency has shown.
According to the latest data provided by Statistics Botswana (SB), by September 2012 the Construction sector had the largest number of employees accounting for about 27.2 percent of the total number of work permit holders. On the second spot is the Agriculture sector with 2,283 persons (27.2 percent), Education with 504 persons (6.0 percent) while Manufacturing had 493 persons (5.9 percent).
Over the past decade, Chinese firms have been actively involved in the building industry in Botswana. According to the Chinese Embassy, by 2009 at least 16 Chinese companies were operating in Botswana, 13 of which are top construction companies, all reaching the construction contractor top grade granted by the PPADB. In total, over 18 projects in Botswana have been carried by Chinese companies who normally import their own labour from China. At the same time, data shows that the country has issued more Zimbabwean nationals with work permits who have been hired in the construction sector mainly by Chinese constructors.
A breakdown by nationality indicates that the country issued work permits to more Chinese and Zimbabwean nationals compared to other nationals. The data shows that for the period that ended September 2012, the largest work permit holders were Zimbabweans at 4,398 persons (33.4 percent), followed by Chinese and South Africans at 3,526 persons (26.8 percent) and 1,562 persons (11.9 percent) respectively.
The total number of work permit holders recorded as active by the end of September 2012 in Botswana was 13,166, of these 8,381 (63.7 percent) were employees while 4,785 (36.3 percent) were self-employed. The overall proportion of male work permit holders is higher than that of females at 78.0 percent.
On the other hand, the Wholesale and Retail sectors record a sizeable number of work permit holders who also own outlets in those respective sectors. The SB data indicate that atleast 1, 402 permit holders in the Wholesale and Retail sectors are self employed reflecting 29.3 percent of the total number of permit holders in that sector. Real Estate sector follows with 1,233 persons (25.8 percent) while Construction comes third with 652 persons (13.6 percent).
Still during the same period under review, a breakdown by professions indicate that the largest proportion, 2,241 persons (26.7%) of employees are in the Elementary occupation, followed by Professionals and Technicians with 1,694 (20.2%) and 1,376 persons (16.4 percent) respectively. Clerks and Skilled Agricultural Workers recorded the lowest number of permits with 0.2 and 0.1 percent respectively.