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Shortage Of Labour In Fiji’s Construction Industry

Shortage Of Labour In Fiji’s Construction Industry
June 06
09:36 2015

Everywhere we hear, every stakeholder we have spoken to, every report we have studied, points out that construction in the country is booming.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has already indicated that investment in the country continues to be driven by construction activity.

Strong growth of 37.4 per cent in domestic cement sales was noted in the first four months of the year.

All this indicates the confidence in our economy.

But while we may have the capacity to meet the demands in terms of materials, do we also have the capacity to meet the demand for skilled labour?

Concerns have been raised over shortage of skilled labour as far as the construction industry is concerned.

Some construction companies are understood to have resorted to bringing in people from other countries, such as the Philippines, to fill in this skilled labour shortage gap.

In some instances, it has been noted that contractors are not willing to give quotations for small projects .

This is given the fact they already have too many projects already and no labour capacity to undertake another one.

We took the questions to some of the players involved in the construction industry do find out their take on the industry and whether they were really feeling a shortage.

TODAY’s QUESTION

Do you feel there’s a shortage of labour in our construction industry?

Yes, there is shortage of skilled labour. The shortage can be attributed to the rapid growth of the construction industry in the last 3 years and brain drain. There is a gap between what is needed and what is available. Acquiring experience skilled & qualified workers such as civil engineers, estimators & project admin etc. & trade persons has been difficult.

For the training providers it would beneficial for everyone in the construction business if the training programmes are fine-tuned to meet the changing need of the industry. On the other hand recruiting unskilled workers has never been a problem.

Agnes Shandil

Pacific Building Solutions Group of Construction Companies, HR Manager

 

What we’re experiencing is we’re going into the booming phase and construction is really taking off. And with this, there’s a definite shortage of labour in the market. The shortage can be felt particularly with the trade certificate holders.

There’s not too many of them. Most labourers we are now getting for our projects in the Central and Eastern Divisions are fresh out of school and on apprenticeship. We have to offer onsite training for the labourers which is good but the qualification and initial skill set is not there.

I have about 80 employees in the field. Carpenter, painter, plumbing and other skill set are vital for the industry.

Praveen Permal

Permal Construction, Director and Projects Manager

 

To a point yes. The shortage is of skilled tradesmen-carpenters, plumbers, painters for example. But one of the biggest issues are that there is no commitment being shown by the workers themselves.

Why most of the workers don’t want to come to work regularly? I don’t know. I believe we have a good number in the field although they need to be utilised well so they can reach their full potential.

Vijay Raghwan

Raghwan Construction Co Ltd, Owner

 

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