In Cambodia, particularly in urban areas, a growing number of people are finding work in the informal sector. The occupations filled by these people include mototaxi drivers, cyclo drivers, food/beverage sellers/servers, rubbish collectors, hotel workers and house servants. Recent studies have suggested that these same occupations are those filled by people living in Phnom Penh’s slums.
While the advantages of working in the informal economy are often well-publicised – avoiding tax etc – there are also numerous downsides. Informal workers are often subjected to extremely heavy workloads, unsociable hours, ‘attached’ labour, unhealthy conditions, lack of skills and inability to access training, lack of formal written contracts that provide accountability, harassment and discrimination based on gender, caste or locality, and fragile job security.
The training that beneficiaries will receive from HITT Cambodia through the initiatives to train food & beverage servers and room attendants will enable these workers avoid some of the downsides of informal employment. Equipped with practical skills, they will be valued by their employers, leading to better pay and better conditions. If these improvements do not occur, the worker’s skills will be valuable elsewhere, meaning that it will be easier for them to find alternative employment than it was before the training.