Is the Indian realty sector taking the skill gap problem seriously?


With rapid urbanisation, skilled manpower for the real estate sector, is very much in demand but supply is an issue. Is the real estate industry acknowledging this problem, which has the power to adversely impact both, the quantity and quality of construction activity

Can the Indian real estate industry rely on the age-old tools and techniques to achieve Housing For All by 2022? Not really. India requires the crucial support of a skilled work force along with the technological acumen and great innovations, to accomplish its goal.

Anil Sawhney, associate dean and director, School of Construction, RICS School of Built Environment, Amity University, acknowledges the problem of skill development. He shares how “As per RICS’ estimates, India’s urban population is likely to be at 600 million by the end of 2030. The emergence of new cities and towns every year, impels us to rapidly develop infrastructure including housing. While the government has announced its target to provide Housing For All by 2022, much has to be done to implement this dream. However, there are challenges – regulatory bottlenecks, lack of funding and skill shortage that will delay the process.” Experts believe that reducing the massive demand-supply gap of skilled professionals, is fundamental for the industry to be able to deliver projects of the highest quality, on time and on cost. Also, this shortage provides tremendous employment opportunities for the country’s youth.

 

Skill deficit could be the biggest challenge for the industry

Rohan Bulchandani, co-founder and president of REMI, pointed out that the impact of manpower shortage results in:

  • Skill gap, as the existing recruits do not have the skills required to complete tasks efficiently.
  • Sub-standard quality of construction.
  • Lower production levels and delays in project completion.
  • Difficulties in recruitment and retention.
  • Increased cost of human resources, resulting in an adverse impact on development costs and the profitability of operations.

See also: How is Indian realty addressing the problem of skill deficit?

According to industry estimates, construction has provided eight million new jobs between 1999-2000 and 2004-05. By the end of 2011-2012, employment in the construction sector alone, rose three times that number. During the real estate boom, between 2006 and 2012, a significant number was added to the overall employment opportunities. According to estimates, every year the industry needs around five million skilled professionals.

Surajit Roy, head – Skilling, CREDAI National, says, “The building, construction and real estate sectors in India, currently employ around 33 million people. The bulk of that workforce, around 82.5%, constitutes of unskilled workers. Based on the growth expected in the infrastructure and real estate sectors, it is expected that about 83 million would be employed by 2022. The incremental human resource requirement between 2008 and 2022, is expected to be about 47 million, which is more than double the present number. The sector will further continue to employ a large portion of this human resource with low education profiles. Hence, skill level needs to be continuously upgraded.

Roy further points out that the incremental requirement would be as under:

  • Electricians – 47. 3 lakhs
  • Welders – 47. 3 lakhs
  • Bar benders – 14.19 lakhs
  • Masons – 14.19 lakhs
  • Plumbers – 11.83 lakhs
  • Carpenters – 18.92 Lakhs

Of this requirement, 80% would be at the base skill level, which can be acquired through short and focused modular interventions and thereby, employability of those with minimal education.

 

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