There is no doubt that the construction industry in Botswana has over the recent years experienced a booming expansion, especially in the capital city Gaborone, the recent work permits holders statistics released by Statistics Botswana for the third quarter of 2012 supports this.
But it would seem with its growth, the industry is not only attracting interest from locals but also raking in thousands of foreign workers. According to the report, the construction sector has the highest number of work permit holders with 2,976 persons (35.5 percent), followed by Agriculture with 2,283 persons (27.2 percent), Education with 504 persons (6.0 percent) and Manufacturing with 493 persons (5.9 percent).
For self-employed work permit holders, Wholesale and Retail Trade was the dominant activity with 1,402 persons (29.3 percent) followed by Real Estate with 1,233 persons (25.8 percent) and Construction with 652 persons (13.6 percent).
Though the construction sector has been in the top three sectors with the highest work permit holders since 2005, in the year 2011 it topped the charts and stayed at the spot until the time the report was released. In 2011 a total of 3997 work permits were issued for construction industry, followed by Agriculture at 3628 and Real Estate at 2129 and in 2012 the industry still maintained its position though with a slight decrease. A total of 2848 work permits were issued, while in Agriculture and Real Estate a total of 2447 and 1669 permits were issued respectively.
Statistics Botswana, however, reports that the total of work permit holders declined by 362 persons (2.7 percent) from 13,528 persons recorded in June 2012 to 13,166 as at the end of September 2012.
Employee work permit holders consist of those holding new work permits and those whose work permits have been renewed. Of the 8, 381 employee work permit holders, 7, 238 (86.4 percent) were new work permit holders while 1, 143 (13.6 percent) held renewed work permits. The majority of holders of renewed work permit holders were in the elementary occupations at 48.5 percent, followed by technicians at 26.6 percent
The largest work permit holders were Zimbabweans at 4,398 persons (33.4 percent), followed by Chinese and South Africans at 3,526 persons (26.8 percent) and 1,562 persons (11.9 percent) respectively. For employees work permit holders, females dominated in Private households and Foreign Mission industries with 95.3 and 64.3 percent respectively. As for the self-employed work permit holders, males were dominant in all industries, except for education. The overall proportion of male work permit holders is higher than that of females at 78.0 percent. The age distribution shows that a large number of work permit holders are found in the age group 35-39 years at 18.5 percent of total work permit holders, followed by the 30-34 and 40-44 years age groups at 18.1 and 17.3 percent respectively.