A skills measurement framework for the construction industry in Zambia: a case of Lusaka province

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Phiri, Pauline
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The University of Zambia
Human resource is a key input in construction, with productivity being dependent on the efficiency and effectiveness of the workforce. With construction being characterised as labour intensive, the continuous skills development has always been a matter of concern. The cyclic nature of the construction industry gives rise to skills mismatches which cause fluctuations in skills demand and supply. Investigating labour market conditions to assess skills demand and supply cycle of labour is a difficult task because of the scarcity or unavailability of aggregated local labour market information on the construction industry. This study investigated the issue of skills mismatches and developed a skills measurement framework to address it. The research design employed a mixed method approach to include both quantitative and qualitative data. A total of 162 firms consisting of contractors, consultants, government institutions and local authorities in Lusaka Province whose core of business was inclined towards construction and development of transportation infrastructure were identified and used as the sample frame. Stratified random sampling was used to select respondents in the sample size. The method employed for data collection was the distribution of structured questionnaires and the conducting of semi- structured interviews with the aid of an interview guide. Quantitative data from the questionnaires was analysed using statistical software and qualitative analysis from interviews was analysed using content analysis. The most influential factors of supply and demand were; defined career paths, education and training requirements, salary scale and technological progression. Results revealed that the type of mismatches that existed were a skills gap and skills shortage. They revealed a shortage of Engineers and Construction Supervisors. Skills gaps were identified in the preparation of design specifications, estimation of project costs and preparing detailed cost plans, preparing construction method statements and technical specifications, as well technical and financial reporting. Key words: skills mismatch, skill measurement, skill competency
Construction industry--Zambia , Construction industry--Skill competency--Zambia