Labour market trends and skills profiles of Sri Lankan migrant workers in the construction industry in GCC countries

This report specifically focuses on skills of migrant workers, in particular in the construction sector. Based on a trend analysis, the report reveals that there is an extensive gap in the skills that are supplied and those that are in demand. This issue has two dimensions. First, there is an overall shortage in the supply of labour from Sri Lanka. Second, the migrants do not have the skill-sets or qualifications that are in demand. The report further lays out possible factors that are exacerbating this gap and presents policy recommendations that address these identified factors.

This labour market trend analysis, however, reveals the nature of the existing skills mismatch of migrant workers in the construction sector. Compared to the level of demand in GCC countries, there is an overall shortage of migrant workers from Sri Lanka and these migrants are often unskilled or are not equipped with skill sets that are in demand. If Sri Lanka could gear towards supplying the GCC countries with a greater number of migrants who are skilled in professions that are in demand, migrant workers may be able to enjoy greater level of economic returns and other benefits. Hence, based on the trend analysis, the report provides policy implications on how the Sri Lankan government and relevant stakeholders can better accommodate the market demands, increase the employability of the migrant workers, and maximize the economic benefits of migration.