EFFECTS OF SKILL SHORTAGE ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECT PERFORMANCE IN NIGERIA
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Background to the Study
A construction project’s success is determined by its performance. The completion of a construction project on schedule, within budget, and in compliance with quality standards are generally considered to be successful projects (Cepeda, Sohail, & Ogunlowo, (2018); Fernando & Gunarathna, (2016); Kabirifar & Mojtahedi, 2019; Papke-Shields, Beise & Quan, (2010); Sunindijo and Zou, 2012; Yong & Mustaffa, 2017). However, due to factors like a lengthy timeline, difficult procedures, expensive costs, and complex organizational structures (Bilau, Ajagbe, Kigbu, & Sholanke, 2015; Farooqui & Saqib, 2010; Jarkas and Younes, 2014; Perera, Rameezdeen, Chileshe, & Hosseini, M.R. 2014; Oseghale et al., 2015), the construction project’s uniqueness would become issues that would impair their performance. In order to succeed, the construction sector needs a variety of professionals with different degrees of expertise, including architects, engineers, consultants, regulators, and others (Chin, 2012). As the foundation for any nation’s economic development, the construction sector affects other industries’ roles at all levels of an economy (Alaloul et al., 2021). A change in the construction industry has a significant impact on the socio-economic elements of any country because these links with other businesses are performance-based (Khan et al., 2014). A key element in the creation of jobs and the alleviation of poverty is the ongoing development of construction companies and the products they produce. However, for such to happen, relevant managerial, business, and professional abilities are needed in order to enhance employee productivity as well as the overall effectiveness of building projects. The breakdown of many building in today world is caused by poor construction project and poor construction is caused by skill labour shortage. The country’s economic and social stability as well as industry are all impacted by skill shortages. According to Healy (2011), skill shortages are a complicated labor market phenomenon. The majority of businesses address skill shortages by better utilizing their core workforce (for example, through longer hours, better pay and conditions, and internal training), while some do so by using ancillary strategies (for example, outsourcing and short-term contracts). These actions are frequently short-term solutions, and some could have negative long-term effects. A burnout effect, for instance, may result from working longer hours and may also be a compliance issue (Xiaoming, 2014).
According to Praveen (2013), “inadequate number of trained personnel coming out of training institutions and joining the labor market” is the most important cause of skill shortage, and the outcome is “time over-run” of the building project. Since skilled labor is one of the essential resources for making construction projects successful (Hajela, 2012; Ibrahim, 2013; Jarkas & Younes, 2014; Karimi, 2016), a labor shortage has a direct impact on project performance. One effect of a lack of competent labor is an increase in project costs and delays (Hwang 2015; Jarkas and Haupt, 2015; Karimi, 2017). Additionally, Karimi et al. (2016) have shown a significant correlation between the overall recordable incident rate and the difficulty of staffing specialized labor. Construction accidents have a significant effect on project cost performance in terms of the indirect cost of damages. According to Windapo, A.O (2016), the issue of a skills gap in the construction sector has impacted the productivity and quality of building projects throughout time. More specifically, (Utting P. 2009) noted that the pressure from the skills gap has made it difficult for the construction sector to keep up with the rapidly rising demand for services. Client demand for projects is booming, and the construction industry is under pressure to keep up with the demand for its services. Rework results from using unskilled workers in the construction industry, as well as from subpar craftsmanship and low productivity. Lack of skills can result in rework due to insufficient ratios of supervisors, foremen, and tradesmen, low skill levels of laborers, unclear instructions from supervisors, disregard for provided specifications, and ineffective resource coordination (Mbeki, 2004; Herrington; Kew, 2009). Another effect of a lack of expertise is business failure, which is typical in new construction enterprises. When managers and staff lack the necessary managerial, business, and technical abilities, Small Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) frequently fail. However, inadequate management training and managerial skill gaps are two significant reasons why businesses fail. This is one of the factors contributing to Nigeria’s low rate of entrepreneurial conception and high failure rate for newly established construction enterprises. Because the current workforce in the industry has the necessary skills, they start to have higher expectations and demand higher salaries, wages, recognition, compensation, and organizational costs (Utting, P 2009). This decreases the profits and organizational competitiveness of construction companies.
Statement of the Problem
The lack of skilled labor has been identified as the main issue in the global construction labor market by studies in the field of construction management. Higher prices and lower-quality project execution are two effects of the skilled workforce shortage (Karimi et al. 2018). Costs associated with attracting, educating, and keeping workers in the construction business are some of the factors contributing to cost growth (Han et al. 2008). Other factors include the propensity of unskilled people to produce work of poor quality and at a low rate, which causes projects to be completed later (Abiola 2004; Bilau et al. 2015).In an industry-wide survey conducted by Autodesk and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC of America, 2018), it was discovered that 80% of construction companies struggle to fill hourly craft roles, which make up the majority of the construction workforce. In that analysis, association leaders assert that shortages constitute a serious threat to future economic growth. Farmer (2016) comes to the conclusion that there is a global problem with the lack of construction workers in another study that examines productivity changes in Europe and the USA. For many years, there has been a labor shortage in the construction sector. Due to the expansion of the economy, the building of new structures, and the completion of infrastructure projects, there is an increasing need for professional construction workers. The availability of personnel, however, was not anticipated. In the construction industry, there are various causes of underemployment. The aging workforce is one of the main causes of this. There are not enough young workers to replace the retiring experienced ones. Additionally, young people are not motivated to work in the construction industry. Finding individuals with the required and necessary abilities can be challenging, which is another factor contributing to labor shortage. There are not enough workers with the particular skills needed for many construction occupations, such as plumbing, electrical engineering, or carpentry. The construction sector has been severely impacted by the labor shortage. It results in higher labor expenses, postponed projects, and worse productivity. Some construction businesses have raised wages and benefits in response to the labor scarcity, as well as made investments in staff training and technology to enhance job performance and workplace productivity. Additionally, initiatives are being taken to advocate for the construction sector as a respectable employment choice for young people. This study aims at examining the relationship between skill shortage and construction project performance. This study focused on the effect of skill shortage on construction project performance in Nigeria.
Justification of the Study
Basically, it is often imperative to question what would be the outcome of any endeavor, be it academic or otherwise. This is also applicable in this study. The researcher anticipates that at the completion of this study, the findings will give a clear insight on the effect of labour shortage on construction project performance in Nigeria. It is conceived that at the conclusion of the study, the findings will be beneficial to the constructor on their choice of worker to use during any construction project. It will be of significant to scholars and other researcher as it will serve as an existing literature.
Aim and Objective of the Study
This research is aimed at examining the effect of skill shortage on construction project performance in Nigeria. Therefore, the study will cover the following sub-objectives:
- To investigate the causes of labour shortage in construction.
- To ascertain how the skill shortage impacts the performance of worker in construction firms.
- To examine measures that can be used to mitigate the crisis of skill shortage during construction.
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