High Attrition of Manpower in Construction Industries

Introduction: - High employee turnover is a disturbing human capital trend which has to be managed with fortitude by the industries, the world over, particularly by the construction industry because of its non-perennial nature and ever changing pattern of work.

The vast demographic variations, as for an Indian example of a project site when its location shifts from say Jammu & Kashmir state to Assam, dissuade over 90% of labour population to change the job with that company. Majority of workmen, possibly due to their own valid personal and family reasons, opt for drop-out even at the cost of unemployment. State government policies, in respect of reservation for workforce in unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled categories, also play an important consideration for constitution of fresh band of team at new project location.

High Attrition of Manpower in Construction Industries

Temporary nature of employment of employees at all cadres by the construction company is another reason for the people to be always on a look-out for changing of job. Dis-satisfaction of wages/salary and search for higher emoluments elsewhere adds further factor for change of job. Changing jobs and companies adversely affect skill enhancement, particularly at un-skilled and semi-skilled stages.


Large turnover of employees poses problem for productivity, EHS aspects, quality of work etc. for the company, which has to be tided over on urgency basis by the project management. Brisk training and grooming program for all the trades, categories including supervision group, has to be planned and executed.

The task is gigantic and practical solutions are not so easy to achieve. The following initiatives may help the company to reduce or tide over the problem of high employee turnover.


Select right people the first time for the specific group of works

Don’t be in a hurry to select anybody and everybody, rather, be selective for your need. Hire right people to reduce turnover. Pay more attention to your most reliable and consistent employees. If you can pinpoint some positive personality traits, technicality and characteristics, it will help you better identify top performers during the hiring process for your ongoing jobs and future ventures.

Patiently evaluate, appoint and engage for long run

Have patience to tryout before you tagout. It applies to sentient and in-sentient both. The best way to evaluate anyone is to test his/her practical knowledge. Hiring a temporary staffing firm aids you to try a tradesperson on the job, before committing to a full-time hire. This helps to safeguard you from unemployment costs if the employee doesn’t work out, then you can turn him out and have fresh attempt.

Belongingness is most desired, hence, look beyond the skills for the work-commitment & loyalty

Ownnessis one virtue in family which outweighs many other professional qualities. There are a lot of people with the hard skills you need. You can find a wonderful pipe-fitter, great plumber etc. But you need to look beyond just skills to find out if they are reliable and have a strong work ethic. Perform personality assessments, reference checks and do your due diligence before hiring someone. Place big emphasis on work history and look to hire skilled tradespeople who have a strong history of success and a solid work ethic. They and even their generation shall own your company and will not desert you even in difficult times. For example Tata Group of companies.

Don’t be miserly Offer competitive pay, facilities and future avenues with requisite grooming

Money is brighter than sunshine and sweeter than honey. It will prove penny wise pound foolish. Make sure that you compensate your employees correctly. Low wages can impact you hugely in long term. Reliable and skilled workers will want to know whether they are being compensated fairly and paid handsomely as a dignified member of the company team.


Factors responsible for high turn-over can be summarized as

  • Location of work away from home place
  • State Governments’ policy of reservation for the local people at new project site
  • Dis-satisfaction of wages/salary
  • Temporary nature of employment by the company

Adverse Effects

  • Skill-enhancement is badly retarded
  • Output, productivity and quality suffers
  • Project is delayed beyond schedule

Remedial Measures

  • Select right people the first time for the specific group of works
  • Patiently evaluate, appoint and engage for long run
  • Look beyond the skills for the work-commitment and loyalty
  • Offer competitive pay, facilities and future avenues with requisite grooming
  • Create facilities for sanitation, hygienic living and proper food, children education/ play/ recreation; crèches and care for women workers, transport facilities from living place to work-site

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