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IMPACT OF CONSTRUCTION SKILLED LABOUR SHORTAGES ON THE COMPETITIVENESS OF BUILDING SECTOR IN NIGERIA

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ABSTRACT

Skilled workforce is critical to the socio-economic development of a country and forms the backbone of the construction industry. This study investigated the problem of construction skilled labour shortages and their impact on the competitiveness of building sector in South-East, Nigeria. The objectives were to evaluate the magnitude of skilled labour shortages, identify the root causes of skilled labour shortages, investigate the impact of skilled labour shortages on the competitiveness of construction companies in South-East, and to determine strategies for mitigating skilled labour shortages. The study adopted survey research strategy using structured questionnaires. The study targeted 100 construction professionals (architects, builders, engineers, quantity surveyors, and project/construction managers) engaged in indigenous building contracting firms operating in three states of South-East. The data collected were analysed using Mean Score Index, Standard Deviation, Kruskal Wallis Test, and Spearman Rank Order Correlation Analysis. The research findings revealed that, poor funding of vocational skills centers, ageing skilled workforce, rapid growth of self-employment, lack of craft skills appeal to young people,andpromotion of diploma and degree over technical are the top causes of skilled labour shortages in South-East. Construction skilled labour shortages also affect the competitiveness of construction companies in terms of quality of work, project completion time, cost of project, financial profitability, andmarketing capability. Firms’ competitiveness in South-East and construction skilled labour shortages is therefore significantly interrelated. The implication is that; firms’ competitiveness can be improved by tackling the problem of construction skill shortages. The study therefore recommends effective deployment of the relevant strategies validated in this study by government, professional regulators and contractors in order to curb skilled labour shortages in the construction sector in South-East.

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