In 1992 the fishing industry employed about 22 percent
labor force, making it the largest single source of
Maldives. However, a high level of disguised unemployment
on a seasonal basis as a result of climatic conditions.
Despite its importance as a source of government
tourism provides little meaningful employment
Maldivians. Tourism accounts for only about 6 percent of
country's labor force. Because most Maldivians have no
beyond primary school, most lack the required knowledge of
foreign languages to cater to foreign tourists. As a
result, nonMaldivians filled most of the best jobs in the tourist
Indigenous employment on the resort islands was also
by the government's efforts to limit contact between
and Westerners to prevent adverse influence on local
mores. Also, the low season for tourists, the time for
monsoons from late April to late October, coincides with
season for the fishing industry.
After fishing, the largest source of employment is in
industrial sector, including mining, manufacturing, power,
construction. Although this sector also accounted for
percent of the labor force in 1990, most employment was in
traditional small-scale cottage industries. Women are
employed in these activities, such as coir rope making
coconut husks, cadjan or thatch-weaving from dried
palm leaves, and mat weaving from indigenous reeds. The
task of cowrie-shell collecting for export is another
in which only women participate. In the early 1990s, a
number of modern industries were operating, mostly fish
and garment making. The largest garment factories are Hong
Kongowned and occupy abandoned hangars and other maintenance
buildings at the former British air station on Gan. They
about 1,500 local women who are bused in and about 500
Lankan women who reside at the site working nightshift.
Other forms of employment in 1990 were minor.
administration accounts for about 7 percent of workers;
transportation and communications, 5 percent; trade, 3
and mining of coral, 1 percent.
Data as of August 1994