NYT recently reported that “a recent U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey found that 88 percent of commercial construction contractors reported moderate-to-high levels of difficulty finding skilled workers, and more than a third had to turn down work because of labor deficiencies.” Like all other sectors construction in India is also largely labour intensive and productivity is not primarily driven by technological or process improvements. But this fact aside, the general picture is very likely similar in India with the generation of skilled steelworkers, carpenters or masons retiring and the new generation is not trained enough for the kind of work society needs today and is not interested in construction work.
The planning framework suggested in the previous post must therefore include an industrial and construction workforce development program. In manufacturing, work can be divided into minute repetitive small tasks but on the worksite, the nature of work keeps changing to varying degrees as the project progresses – so the intensive division of labour ad hence making do with unskilled workers is very difficult. The alternative to a skilled construction workforce is delays in project completion (i.e. waste of time and material and human resources) and/or unsatisfactory quality of work.