The skills gap in four industrial sectors in Sri Lanka

In response to a request from the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development to carry out an assessment of the skills gap in four initial priority sectors identified by the Government of Sri Lanka, the ILO commissioned this study to identify the critical issues that need to be addressed in order to bridge the gap generated by the skills mismatch in the four sectors. As such, this report serves as an overview of the skills gap in the information communication and technology industry, tourism and hospitality industry, construction industry, and light engineering industry.

This paper attempts to review conditions of demand and supply related to skills development in four industrial sectors that the government of Sri Lanka has ear-marked for long term development. They are the information and communication technology industry (ICT), the tourism and hospitality industry (THI), construction and light engineering. These four sectors accounted for 9 percent of GDP and 10 percent of total employment in 2012. The IT and tourism industries are projected to earn US$ 5 billion each in 2022. The two sectors have also revealed their potential for high growth in terms of value addition and employment. The growth potential of sub-sectors belonging to these two service sectors are linked to export markets, while the growth potential of the construction and light engineering sectors are largely determined by product market conditions of the domestic market. Using already available secondary data in the form of survey data, administrative data, and published reports, the present paper assesses the training gaps in these four sectors using standard skills assessment methodologies.