The focus of this paper is on employment in road construction and maintenance in five provinces in PNG. It is based on consultations with national and provincial government departments, private contractors and training providers. Road construction provides employment opportunities for a considerable number of Papua New Guinean men, and with companies drawing their workforce from communities close to the project sites, many rural Papua New Guineans will at some point in their lives find casual employment in the area. However, most employment opportunities are short term and very few Papua New Guineans build a career in construction. The quality of formal training is generally poor and as a result, few Papua New Guineans have formal qualifications in the field.

Many construction companies employ foreign workers at managerial and supervisory levels including as engineers and technicians while government departments with responsibility for roads struggle even more to find qualified staff. The increasing number of foreign construction companies operating in PNG has become a concern in all case study provinces because foreign companies often bring the bulk of their workforce from overseas, even for lower skilled positions. This practice adversely affects employment opportunities of rural Papua New Guineans.

Carmen Voigt-Graf, Chris Banga, Mathew Dornan and Ronald Sofe