Home » ABST Home » APPLIED BIO-SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY – VOL. 1, NO. 2, (2021) » VOL. 1, NO. 2, (2021) : ARTICLE 2

VOL. 1, NO. 2, (2021) : ARTICLE 2

A Study on the Needs of Construction Labour in Sri Lanka

Kesavan Manoharan, Pujitha Dissanayake, Chintha Pathirana, Dharsana Deegahawature and Renuka Silva


Background: Human capital is a key source for the sustainable economic development of a nation. Even though past studies report a wide range of labour-related problems influencing the efficiency of labour operations in the Sri Lankan construction industry, the importance of fulfilling the labour needs has been limitedly studied. This study aims to view the current status of the fulfilment levels of needs among Sri Lankan construction labour based on the different levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Methods: A series of interviews and discussions were conducted among 70 construction supervisory workers, who had been handling a variety of labour operations in various types of construction projects in Sri Lanka. By interviewing the labourers working at their worksites and the continuous observations on their recent activities, the construction supervisors answered the fulfilment level of needs in each category of Maslow’s hierarchy considering their crews. The results were then validated through a series of meetings and discussions among the engineers and construction managers.

Results: The results confirm that the physiological and safety needs are fulfilled among only three-fourths of Sri Lankan construction labourers, where the love and belonging needs are not fulfilled among 50% of them. Considering the esteem and self-actualization needs, results reported no fulfilment among more than 90% of the Sri Lankan construction labourers. The study also comprehensively identified the major causes behind the current status of the fulfilment levels of the labour needs.

Conclusions: The study highlights the significance of skills development practices for better achievement of needs and life qualities among construction labourers. Findings of this study can be used to make possible predictions on the labour needs in other foreign contexts as well.

Keywords: Construction Industry, Human Needs, Labour Motivation, Maslow’s Hierarchy, Sri Lanka