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Bangladeshi apparel units fall back on foreign staff
Sep '11
Many of the apparel production and exporting units are recruiting mid-level skilled personnel from foreign shores in a bid to tackle shortage of skilled manpower in Bangladesh.

The rapid and phenomenal rise in clothing exports from the country in recent years, has led to a serious skilled manpower dearth in a sector which accounts for over 80 percent of overall exports from the country.

The absence of trained employees is particularly felt in key areas like production planning and control, quality assurance and inspection, fashion designing, merchandising and many other departments.

“Close to 15,000 foreign personnel are working in the Bangladeshi industry” Mr Abdus Salam Murshedy, President, Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB), informed fibre2fashion.

Explaining the reasons, Mr Murshedy said, “The training of new staff takes around three months whereas the growth of the industry is phenomenal. And, our country does not have training centres or academies for training the new staff and getting skilled workers.

“There is no technical staff training institute here at the government level or even at the private level. A couple of centres have come up now but we do not have quality assurance people and compliance people at the government level. Although we have colleges offering diplomas and degrees in textile engineering, the rapid rise is creating a shortage.

“Currently only BGMEA has set up its own institute called the Bangladesh Institute of Fashion Technology (BIFT) and now there is going to be a university. To bridge the gap, some more fashion institutes are also coming up in Bangladesh.

“The count of foreign staff was more initially, but now our people are developing skills and this count is reducing gradually. Employing foreign human capital definitely means, local employment opportunities are reduced, but we also need to first develop in the technical aspects”.

Revealing the positive aspects of the garment industry in Bangladesh, he informed, “Initially, Bangladesh was considered to be a producer of low-end clothing, but today we manufacture for both mid-markets as well the high-markets for global top-end brands like Hugo Boss, Diesel and many others.

“The textile and apparel industry in Bangladesh is growing at a 90 degree angle. Last year our garment exports were around US $18 billion dollar. Even during the recession, the industry grew by US $5 billion. So in a way the recession was like an opportunity for us.

“So, more and more skilled staff is required to cope with this growth particularly in the areas of washing, dyeing, machine handling, etc. To meet the shortfall, a lot of technical staff has been recruited from India, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Philippines, Pakistan, China, Korea, etc”, he summed up by saying.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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