According to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), more than 80% of the workforce in Bangladeshi garment factories believes they need more training to meet the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution.
In four locations in the Dhaka and Chattogram division, the BIDS conducted the study among 119 enterprises, comprising 72 in the knit and 47 in the woven industries.
Rizwana Islam, a research associate for BIDS, stated during a presentation at BIDS Research Almanac 2023 that the current workforce believes additional training will close the skills gap.
In the woven industry, 82% of men and 84% of women agree that it is necessary, compared to 84% of men and 88% of women in the knit industry.
She also said that the survey’s focus was on the scarcity, mismatch, and skills gap.
Despite having the smallest labor shortfall of all the industries, the garment sector nevertheless required skilled workers, especially for managerial positions, she claimed.
There are noticeable deficiencies in management, quality assurance, and several finishing operator positions.
Moreover, the poll indicated that almost all job categories had a mismatch between the educational levels sought and those that were available.
“Survey firms show a matching of desired and actual qualifications of the employees only for quality inspectors in both industries and printing and embroidery machine operators in the knit industry,” she continued.
Programs to improve skills are required, she said, and they should concentrate more on the occupations where the disparity is largest.
“Enterprises should have close linkages with training providers so that trainees could get internships in factories and in turn the enterprises will get good quality workers,” she said.
The government should introduce training on computer programming, technical engineering, and design work so that the industry can work on product diversification and move to upper value chains of garment products, she said.