Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector

The RMG sector is the highest earning industry in Bangladesh, contributing 18% of GDP and 76% of export earnings. More than 5,500 RMG factories currently employ 4.4 million people, of whom 70% are women.

Sudokkho’s labour market assessment identified large skills shortages in the RMG industry. It also projected that semi-skilled and skilled occupations will account for 25% and 65% respectively of new positions created in the industry over the next five years, driven by the increasing use of technology.

The assessment presented a strong case for skills training that supports unskilled workers to enter semi-skilled occupations It also demonstrates the value of providing pathway opportunities to skilled occupations in which the greatest labour shortages (65%) are anticipated in the coming five years.

The eight occupations in the table below are most in demand from employers, with the position of Sewing Machine Operator offering the greatest absorption capacity. 

Occupations with highest demand in the RMG sector (Labour Market Assessment)

Occupations 5-year labour demand
Semi-skilled Skilled
Sewing machine operator 132,500 231,000
Overlock machine operator 15,900 53,600
Quality inspector 5,800 54,300
Sweater knitting machine operator 3,400 28,400
Fusing machine operator 3,000 13,700
Cutter 2,600 22,500
Linking machine operator 2,200 10,200
Machine mechanic 1,000 5,500


Construction sector

The construction sector comprises three sub-sectors: infrastructure, industrial and housing/building construction. Sudokkho focuses on construction workers in the housing and building employment markets, including artisans, technicians and supervisors.

It is also working to develop opportunities for those involved in input supply chains, construction and demolition waste management and building maintenance. These sub-sectors employ substantial numbers of men and women, often on longer-term employment contracts.

According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, the annual employment growth rate in the construction sector averaged 13.5% from 2005/6 to 2010 and female employment rose by 20% (from a low base and still marginal).

The sector is the country’s fifth largest employer, accounting for around five per cent of the total labour force. The labour market survey found that, while the sector will continue to require substantial unskilled labour, more than 50% of new positions created over the next five years will be in semi-skilled and skilled occupations.

The semi-skilled occupation with the highest potential to absorb large numbers of people with limited education is masonry, which represents 39% of the total demand for new workers over the next five years.  However, the 10 occupations listed below remain in substantial demand by industry. 

Occupations with highest demand in construction sector (Labour Market Assessment):

Occupation 5 Years Labor Demand
Semi-Skilled Skilled
Mason 28,275 19,116
Rod binder 14,034 12,439
Shutter Carpenter 6,707 6,530
Tiles Fixture 5,495 5,407
Welder (Grill maker) 5,259 2,216
House Wiring Electrician 5,023 3,900
Plumber 4,639 4.964
Building Painter 3,634 5,377
Aluminum Fabricator 3,043 3,841
Finishing Carpenter 3,014 3,575

Workers in the construction industry are employed predominantly on a casual or project basis with no employment contract and are scouted through labour contractors.

Only 12% of employers seek graduates from training providers, far below the proportions recruited through walk-up and testing (61%) and personal recommendations (57%). Construction companies and sub-contractors have minimal links with training providers for recruiting employees.