Construction Industry in dire need of skilled Bhutanese workers

There is a dearth of skilled workers in the construction industry. Most construction sites require the expertise of skilled workers to carry out the works with precision.

According to the President of the Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB), Tshering Yonten, there are job slots for around 450 Bhutanese skilled workers, but the problem is there are no skilled workers in the market. However, CAB has been able to engage around 60 to 70 Bhutanese workers to work as masons and laborers.

A group who had earlier worked in a restaurant is now working as construction workers. The former restaurant owner and his staff said they require proper worker kits such as safety boots and helmets for their protection at the construction site. They said they could also use skills training to be effective at work.

CAB also said there some issues with shortage of workers in the rural parts of the country, unlike in the urban areas. It was found that most of the Bhutanese workers who apply for jobs in the construction areas are mostly unskilled with just a few of them being skilled. The Bhutanese workers are paid in lump sum for their labor, as they do not prefer working on daily wage basis.

Most of the Bhutanese workers who have applied to work at construction sites are not from the tourism or hotel industries, but they were in fact unemployed before COVID-19 pandemic. They are now replacing the Indian workers in the country.

Without the skills or experience, most of the people are hesitant to come forward and take up construction works. They are also not hired since they need someone to lead them from the start of the job to finish, as they have no confidence to carry out the jobs on their own.

Many workers have also put up proposals to the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources to provide the Bhutanese construction workers with the proper construction safety kits.

Similarly, the Chairman President of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Bhutan (HRAB) Sonam Wangchuk said hotels in the southern parts of the country have some issues with not having enough helpers as the day workers from the bordering towns are no longer allowed inside Bhutan. Otherwise there should not be shortage of workers because there are no tourists in the country.

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