CONSTRUCTION CONUNDRUM

LABOUR SHORTAGES IN CONSTRUCTION ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE ADDRESSED BY MIGRANT WORKERS THAN NEW TECHNOLOGY

Contributing 7.1% to GDP, the construction industry is a key driver of the economy. However, the sector faces many challenges, with a shortage of skilled workers and the high cost of raw materials being a couple of main ones. Foreign workers arrive in Sri Lanka when contracts are awarded to global construction companies. Sri Lankan companies are also hiring foreign workers, who they say are more productive than local ones.

According to a recent report by the International Labour Organisation, Future of Work in Sri Lanka, labour migration has made it easier for construction companies to rely on low-skilled foreign workers, instead of investing in technology.

7.1%

The construction industry’s contribution to GDP

4.1%

Unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2018

16%

Resident visas issued to those working in the public sector or BOI companies (2017)

24%

Resident visas issued or extended to those employed in the private sector (2017)