Title Employer survey for identifying skills demand and constraint for Roads and Bridges sub-sector of the Construction Industry
Objective To carry out a survey of employers in the road Roads and Bridges Construction industries to find out skills demand, supply constraints and future potentiality of skills training.
Location Dhaka (Bangladesh)
Duration May’ 2020 to August’ 2020
Reports to The researcher/research organisation will work closely with the Training Coordinator and Construction Industry Skills Council (CISC), and reports to the Team Leader through Skills Development Director of Sudokkho,

Background of Sudokkho

Sudokkho is a 7-year skills training and employment programme, funded by DFID and SDC and implemented by Palladium in a consortium with Swisscontact and the British Council.

The programme seeks to test and scale-up market-driven, quality skills training systems within the Readymade Garments (RMG) and Construction sectors that will stimulate further investment in training by trainees, private training providers and employers. The programme’s target is that 100,000 poor people, including women and disadvantage populations, will earn increased income in skilled or semi-skilled jobs after successful completion of training.  

The programme supports Private Training Providers (PTPs) and Industry-based training initiatives (supply-side stimulation) and raises awareness about the value of skills development among the trainees and industry (demand-side stimulation).

Sudokkho builds upon the TVET reform agenda in coordination with the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) of the Ministry of Education (MoE). The Government of Bangladesh (GoB) supports initiatives that facilitate greater involvement of the private sector to ensure skills’ training is relevant and of high quality, thereby increasing post-training employment opportunities, as stipulated in the National Skills Development Policy 2011. The programme strengthens the institutional capacity and supports key functions of the Industry Skills Councils (ISC) in the concerned sectors and supports capacity building of national Training Consultancy Service Providers (TCSP) to sustain a long-term development process.

The Construction Sector

Bangladesh’s construction sector has been growing rapidly in recent years. The latest available national accounts data shows construction to be the Sixth largest sector in Bangladesh in terms of GDP, growing at 6.19 percent per annum between 2010-11 and 2013-14. The construction sector is also in the top five in terms of share of GDP, which averaged 6.85 percent over the same period. The construction sector’s share of GDP grew slightly by 0.39 percent. 

Construction is a labour-intensive sector. The construction sector’s share of total employment appears to have peaked in 2010 at around 5 percent falling to 3.7 per cent in 2013 (although this may have been due to seasonal variations at the time the two surveys were conducted. The real estate sector is a major part of the construction sector, which engages most of the labour force.

The construction sector is less attractive in terms of employment of women. A survey conducted by Sudokkho in 2017 suggests that only around 3 percent of technical workers in the construction sector are female. Study (2017) identified that women are predominantly hired as unskilled helpers in masonry, painting and carpentry. The low participation levels of women is mainly due to socio-cultural factors. Also, the sector potentially provides substantial employment opportunities for workers from disadvantaged groups. CISC has recently completed a survey of the problems and constraints faced by women and people from disadvantaged communities in accessing skills training and employment in the construction sectors. The low employment participation rates of women and disadvantaged groups in the sector presents a challenge as a priority is to mainstream gender and social inclusion (GSI) across all its project interventions. However, when defining any intervention related to gender and social inclusion, adheres to the “do no harm” principle by thoroughly addressing the operating context and assessing all possible risks.

There are two other factors which makes the construction sector interesting for CISC. Firstly, employers face a significant ‘skills gap’. Construction firms need more skilled workers than are currently available in the market. Moreover, the demand for skilled workers will substantially increase in the coming years.  This shortage of skilled labour is expected to trigger the interest of employers – contractors or sub-contractors – in skills training and to recruit trained workers.

Secondly, there exists a ‘wage premium’ for skills. According to our aggregated data, a semi-skilled worker can expect to earn 33 percent more than an unskilled worker and a skilled worker can expect to earn 26 percent more than a semi-skilled worker, and 68 percent more than an unskilled worker. Moreover, wage premiums exist across the range of construction occupations. This provides individuals with an incentive to invest in skills training.

It is clear from this quick overview that the construction sector is a key sector for employment and skills training in Bangladesh.

Road and Bridge Construction Industry

Bangladesh gained strong economic development, with GDP doubles from 2000 to 2008 and again from 2008 to 2015, created rapid growth in flows of passengers and freight between the landlocked capital Dhaka and the second largest city Chattagram with its international deep-sea port along with other districts. The total length of road reaches more than 21,000 km. According to the data published by Transport and Highways Division and Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), over 2,000 km roads are needed to repair every year only because of overloaded vehicles.

Besides, a number of mega projects are ongoing in Roads and Bridges construction industries. Padma multipurpose bridge (June 2021), Karnaphuli tunnel (2022), Dhaka elevated express Public Private Partnership (PPP) project (2023) can be mentioned as examples. Moreover, a huge number of mega construction projects are approved by the Bangladesh government of which will be constructed within the next couple of years, i.e. Dhaka-Ashulia elevated express project (2022), Dhaka western bypass road (2022), Dhaka Subway (Tongi-Motijheel-2023).

A number of government institutes are engaged to implement these activities, i.e. Bangladesh Bridge Authority (BBA), Dhaka Transport Co-ordination authority (DTCA), Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited (DMTCL).

Rationale for the survey

Bangladesh is a fast-growing economy and its improving economic conditions present a great opportunity to address infrastructure shortfalls. In order to address the challenges of 4th industrial revolution in Bangladesh, there is no alternative of implementing skills development activities through assessment different sector including subsectors. Government of Bangladesh is still planning to start more mega projects for improving transport communication. A number of construction sector worker will be required for implementing this mega project in the next few years focusing on Roads and Bridges construction industries of Bangladesh. In order to address the labour demand of this industries, a systematic Employer Survey for identifying skills demand will help to the stakeholders in this industries to contribute properly. In order to address the emerging requirement, Sudokkho decided to facilitate an “Employer survey for identifying skills demand and constraint focusing on Roads and Bridges Construction industries for identifying the exact skills demand in this subsector.

Objectives of the Survey

The objective of this assignment is to contact employers and employer representative organisations in Roads and Bridges Construction industries to obtain information on:

  • the present labour status and future projected labour needs of skilled and semi-skilled workers on Roads and Bridges Construction industries
  • their perceptions on the value and importance of engaging skilled workers on Roads and Bridges Construction industries;
  • their commitment to investing in skills training;
  • the constraints/barriers they face in finding skilled employees in the labour market;
  • the measures they have adopted to encourage/improve the supply of skilled labour for their companies/projects;
  • their attitudes to the training and employment of females in traditional male jobs
  • the capacity and reliability of training providers (if any ) which presently offer training courses i.e. formal and non-formal  in Roads and Bridges Construction industries to meet this required demand, disaggregated by each occupation;
  • the constraints and problems of training providers(if any) in improving their capacity and performance to provide skills training against new occupational skills standards for the industry;
  • Categorise the identified occupations in demand as per their wage range, separately for male and female.
  • the extent of the provision of on-the-job skills training and the measures required to improve its quality;
  • the potentiality of applying robust skills assessment and certification systems;

Implementation Process

Sudokkho plans to outsource the survey to an external researcher/ research organisation. A call for submitting Expression of Interest (EoI) will be published in bdjobs and Sudokkho website to invite proposals from national researchers/ research organisations. Sudokkho will evaluate the proposals with CISC and shortlist top 3 researchers/ research organisations based on their ability and prior experience of conducting similar assessments. Composition of team i.e. a well experiences team leader having Civil Engineering degree, TVET specialist, Economist and data analyst. Upon shortlisting, they will be informed and present their details methodology including sample size, study approach etc. Finally, one researcher/ research organisation will be selected by Sudokkho and CISC to conduct the study.

Sudokkho will complete the contract signing formalities i.e. due diligence. After signing the contract, the selected researcher/ research organisation, Sudokkho and CISC will agree on a work plan, methodology, questionnaires and go to the agreed samples to collect data. The data will then be analysed accordingly and the detailed report will be submitted to Sudokkho.

Deliverables and Reporting

The researcher/ research organisation will ensure the following deliverables:

  • Detailed work plan at the start of the assignment, and updated fortnightly;
  • A final report (including data tables and corresponding graphs from the employer survey in electronic format) and a PowerPoint presentation covering the following points.
  • Economic data on the construction sector, disaggregated by sub sector (Roads and Bridges Construction industries) indicating historical trends in economic growth performance, employment trends, labour market turn-over updated to Yr 2015 toYr2020.
  • Statistical profile of Roads and Bridges Construction industries labour market including employment data by sub sectors, occupation, skill level, education level, gender, age, and geographical location, based on most recent household and labour market surveys and the Census.
  • Summary of relevant government policies, legislation and regulations directly affecting/influencing employment practises, safety, and skills training in the Roads and Bridges Construction industries.
  • Summary of the polices, codes of practise and guidelines of the relevant (member) industry associations affecting employment practises, safety, wage payment and skills training in the Roads and Bridges Construction industries.
  • A review of the employment recruitment practises and employment security/tenure, especially between sub-contractors and Roads and Bridges Construction industry workers.
  • A review of apprenticeships, internships and other formalised training schemes prevalent in the Roads and Bridges Construction industries.
  • A review of informal (on the job) skills training practises
  • A profile of the Roads and Bridges Construction industries workforce by occupation, age, gender, education level, skill level.
  • An assessment of the perception of employers regarding the importance and value-adding benefit of having a skilled workforce for their business performance.
  • An assessment and projection of the current and future demand for skilled workers (skills shortages and skills gaps) required for roads and bridge construction for next five years
  • An assessment of the perception of employers regarding the current status of skilled employment (i) in their business/projects; and (ii) in the Roads and Bridges Construction industries as a whole.
  • An assessment of the perception of employers regarding the problems and constraints which mitigate against improving the skills base of the workforce.
  • An assessment of the perception of employers regarding the value they will place on an industry-wide certification system. 
  • An assessment of the preparedness/ willingness of employers to invest in skills training.
  • An assessment of the employer’s knowledge and understanding of the role and functions of the Construction ISC.
  • A review of the different access routes for workers and unemployed youth for skills training and employment the Roads and Bridges Construction industries.
  •  A review of the main characteristics of (on the job) skills training schemes.
  •  A review and profile of skills-based grading/wage payment arrangement.

Common Understanding of Roles and Responsibilities

The following roles and responsibilities will be agreed upon by both parties, upon signing of the contract for this assignment:

Role of Sudokkho and CISC

Roles of Sudokkho are to:

  • select the researcher or the research organisation
  • share available resource materials if any
  • orient the researcher/research organisation on the expectations from the study and specific aspects of the Terms of Reference (ToR)
  • assign a contact person from the project
  • approve the methodology for the study
  • approve the work plan submitted by the researcher/research organisation
  • supervise data collection
  • host the presentation of findings and provide feedback
  • provide feedback on the draft report
  • approve the final report

Role of the Researcher/ research Organisation

Roles of research organisations are to:

  • understand the ToR and clarify queries
  • propose an appropriate methodology and sampling technique to meet the study objective
  • submit a work plan and collect approval from the project
  • develop draft sets of questionnaires and collect approval on that from the project
  • translate the questionnaires into Bangla
  • orient the enumerators on the final questionnaire and data collection process
  • collect data from the field and analyse
  • present the findings to the project before drafting the report
  • collect feedback from the project and provide a draft report
  • incorporate the feedback on the draft report and submit the final report within the agreed deadline

Tentative Timeline

The study will be conducted between April to July 2020.

Deliverables and Schedule of Payment

Percentage of Payment
Approved work plan
Approved questionnaires
Hard copies of filled up questionnaires after completion of data collection
Presentation on analysed data conducted to CISC board members and Sudokkho team
Draft report
Final report to the satisfactory of the project

Profile/requirement of the Researcher/research Organisation

The consulting firm should meet the following profile:

  • Robust knowledge of: i) construction sector including sub sectors ; ii) the national education and training system including familiarity with the National Skills Development Policy; (iii) labour market analysis (iv) gender equity and inclusion in developing country contexts; (v) private sector employers and their contribution to corporate social responsibility and the decent work agenda; and (vi) youth employment solutions
  • The researcher/research organisation’s experience will include knowledge of the role of government and its institutions in inclusive labour markets especially the role of and function of Industry Skills Councils and other agencies which address and target the needs of women, youth and marginalised groups; and how labour markets that are inclusive can better contribute to poverty reduction and economic development.   
  • Experience of working with DFID and / or other bilateral and multilateral donors as well as government, civil society and private sector institutions;
  • A strong track record of conducting research, analysing data and preparing and publishing comprehensive reports combined with very good communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to work in a complex political, economic and social environment with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to work/write in English and Bangla
  • Proficiency in MS Office (particularly Word Excel and Access).

Survey Proposal

Interested national consulting firm should submit a comprehensive technical and financial proposal which covers the following:

  • Understanding the assignment focusing ToR
  • Methodological approach
  • Profile of the consultancy including prior experience in conducting similar assignments (desk studies and field surveys).
  • CVs of the key experts in the team including the field workers;

Area of individual experts-

  • Team Leader
  • Sector Expert (Construction)
  • TVET Specialist
  • Economist
  • Data analyst
  • Activity Work Plan
  • Budget/Financial Proposal

The financial proposal should cover

  • Daily fee rates of each proposed expert and field team member;
  • Total fees
  • Other expenditure associated with the field work and desk study including transportation and any planned workshop for research activities

Consultancy proposals may be sent to email info@sudokkho.org with “Employer survey for identifying skills demand and constraint for Road and Bridge sub-sector of Construction Industry” in the subject. The closing time and date is 12 midnight (Bangladesh time) on Saturday, 19 April’ 2020.