The lack of applicants for census- taking positions
THE EDITOR, Madam:
I am writing to express my concern about the shortage of census takers in Jamaica. As you may know, the census is a vital tool for governments to gather data on their population, and this data is used to inform policy decisions and allocate resources. Why is it difficult for Jamaica to locate census workers when, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, 9.1 per cent of the country’s population is unemployed? To increase interest in the job, the Government even went so far as to double the salary for census workers. Census workers are important to any country as they provide vital information on population, demographics, and economic activity. However, Jamaica is struggling to find census workers for its periodic census activities.
The Jamaican populace shows little interest in the advantages of census work. Also, the Government has not done enough to promote census work. Many individuals view these jobs as temporary and low-paying, with no prospects for career growth. This perception has led to a lack of interest in such jobs, resulting in a shortage of qualified candidates. Census taker positions are often temporary, which means that people cannot rely on them for a stable income. Further, the salary is a one-time payment that takes time to be received, which makes it challenging for the Government to find appropriate people for these posts.
Lack of knowledge and awareness of the significance of census data collection is another factor. Some people might not be aware of the importance of the census, or how the information is used to guide policy and resource allocation. Increased information and awareness initiatives may persuade individuals to consider working as census takers and making a contribution to their nation. People lack interest in surveys because the majority of Jamaicans do not believe it is crucial for the Government to be aware of all of these details. They are simply unaware of the significance of data collecting and the organisations that hold this information as valuable inputs that will be used to assist the locals, whether in health, education, or other necessities of life.
The Government of Jamaica should act to remedy the scarcity of census takers. In order to boost the number of persons interested in working as census takers, the Government should raise public awareness of, and educate people about, the value of gathering census data.