SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Oya, Carlos (2019) 'Building an Industrial Workforce in Ethiopia.' In: Cheru, Fantu, Cramer, Christopher and Oqubay, Arkebe, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 668-686. (Oxford Handbooks)

Text - Accepted Version
Download (632kB) | Preview


This chapter provides an overview of the factors and dynamics involved in the creation and formation of an industrial workforce in an agrarian-based economy. The main argument is that the process of building an industrial working class is uneven, protracted, and requires interventions and important economic and social shifts over long periods of time. Historical lessons of early and late industrializers are highly relevant for contemporary Ethiopia as it seems that history does repeat itself in some ways. The chapter focuses on a number of structural obstacles to the process of building an industrial workforce, particularly: addressing socio-cultural barriers and the problem of ‘work cultures’ and work ethic; sourcing workers, managing and especially housing migrant labour; scarcity of employable skills (including soft skills); mismatch in expectations between employers and workers, largely related to wage-setting mechanisms, non-wage conditions, and labour productivity.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: employment, industrialization, social change, industrial workforce, skills, industrial relations
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780198814986
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 10:43
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item