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Carrying out the Public Employment Service Delivery under the Covid-19 Pandemic Circumstances in Sri Lanka - 2021

18 August 2021

Carrying out the Public Employment Service Delivery under the Covid-19 Pandemic Circumstances in Sri Lanka - 2021


Sri Lanka is a small island located significantly important place in the middle of the Indian Ocean and also commonly known as ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’. Based on the official statistics, the total population is nearly 22 million in 2020 and among them around 4.4 million people come under youth category.


The present unemployment rate is 5.5% in 2020, which was 4.8% in 2019. Hence, it is clear that, the unemployment’s have increased significantly in the recent years. Among them, almost 26.5% are belongs to 15-24 years age category. It means, one out of four youths is without any job. Moreover, 12% of unemployed people are aged between 25-29 years. Therefore, higher unemployment rate and higher youth unemployment rate is a significant challenge that our country faces presently.


Further, it is estimated that approximately 2 million Sri Lankan’s are working overseas, and over 200,000 Sri Lankan’s are immigrating for work annually.


However due to pandemic situation, Sri Lanka also faces some untold difficulties in terms of economic survival especially in securing employment opportunities. In addition to the local unemployment crises, around 200,000 migrant workers also have returned to the country due to pandemic situation.


Therefore, as one of the vital public institution, Department of Manpower and Employment(DME) – Sri Lanka has implemented various projects and policy changes to adopt with the present requirements.


As the department has already established 25 district Public Employment Service Centre (PES) - (as Sri Lanka divided into 25 Districts), each district’s PES’s activities are handled by the respective district PES centers, while ‘National PES’ Centre which if established in the department’s head office has been functioning as a main, coordinating and monitoring part of the overall PES system of the country.


Through the immediate recent policy changes, we have able to adopt new technological support and through that we are now able to delivery PES services such as Online Job Seekers Registration, Job Providers Registration, Conducting Career Guidance Programs for Secondary Level Students like (Ordinary Level and Advance Level Students) and to the Undergraduates Students, Awareness programs for Parents as well as Self-employment motivational programs, Entrepreneurship development programs etc.So far we have conducted nearly 1000 online programs in 2 months in the above different criteria.This is just a glimpse of what we are doing through Public Employment Service (PES) system in Sri Lanka.


Even though we were unable to conduct larger Job Fairs and Face to Face Programs since 2020 March, Recently (in 2021), we have conducted ‘Virtual Job Fairs’, through online gatherings, through that we have now been experienced the effect of first ever Online Job Fair in Sri Lanka.


At this moment we have been able to successfully overcome the challenge we faced as a country in providing PES services over the Internet. Most of the Tamil speaking people live in the northern part of our country and most of the Sinhala speaking people live in the southern part. There have been a number of instances where the Tamil speaking people living in the South in particular have not been properly served due to language barriers. In providing PES service over the internet, our department provided a very attractive solution to this problem. That is to say, the Tamil speaking department officers living in the North took action to provide PES services to the Tamil speaking people living in the South through the internet. This is an opportunity to add value and value to us as a department and as a country.


Even though there are challenges, DME is contributing to the development of the people of Sri Lanka, through the continuous service delivery in terms of employability. Thus, we strongly believe that, we can contribute to the overall long term development of our country and the world at large.




Report by:


(Assistant Director)                                               

Technical Assistance:                                 


(Development Officer)




Department of Manpower and Employment

Ministry of Youth and Sports

Sri Lanka.


2021 August 14