Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Industrial Labour in Karachi

The purpose of this paper is to examine some characteristics of the urban industrial labour-force. The study of industrial labour-force in Karachi, a newly developed industrial centre1, may reveal how industrial labour-force is built up during the process of industrialization and economic growth. Information was collected on the occupational and industrial structure of employment, wage differentials by size of firm and skill mix, characteristics of the labour market, the mobility of workers, permanence of the worker’s job, labour turnover, and absenteeism of Karachi’s industrial labour-force. The source of the data for this study is an industrial survey in Karachi conducted by the Institute of Development Economics in 19592. The sample for this survey consisted of 530 establishments in four industries (textiles, light engineering, plastics, and leather and leather goods); 534 workers were also interviewed separately for collecting information on various aspects of labour. The sample covered about 50 per cent of the establishments employing more than 20 workers (all the firms employing more than 100 workers were included in the sample) and 4 per cent of the establishments employing less than 20 workers3. The sample thus achieved better coverage of large-scale firms. The sample of 534 workers with which we are working is 1.3 per cent of the labour force of the sampled firms and less than one per cent of the total labour force in these industries.

Mohammad Irshad Khan

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