[Excerpt] This paper considers the nature and extent of skill gaps in Papua New Guinea’s construction industry. It examines how skill gaps affect broader labor market efficiency and advances recommendations on how publicly funded infrastructure projects can be leveraged to narrow the skill gaps and make economic development more inclusive.
The challenges of underperforming labor markets, persistent skill shortages, and lack of formal employment opportunities exist in a number of the Pacific island countries. These challenges affect a wide range of stakeholders, including domestic populations, development organizations, and the private sector. Addressing skill gaps, particularly in the construction industry, stands to generate considerable value for each of these groups, at minimal costs, and over a relatively short period of time. Regional cooperation in implementing these recommendations would strengthen and extend the scope of their outcomes, ultimately leading to more inclusive economic growth across the Pacific.
Although the conclusions of this study are drawn from country-specific data, and case studies are based on projects financed by the Asian Development Bank, the study’s recommendations have broad potential applicability to other Pacific island countries and development partners.