LAHORE - Acute shortage of skilled workforce badly has been hampering the export of Pakistan's furniture and furnishings products, said Chief Executive Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC), Mian Kashif Ashfaq.

In a statement issued here Wednesday, he said this sector would require about two million skilled workers by 2022 as there would be higher growth in employment in 2017-22 due to swift changes in consumer preferences and penetration of organized furnishing services.

He said there was a dire need to provide training to non-skilled and semi-skilled workers of this industry who are scattered in furniture hubs like Gujrat, Gojra, Peshawar and Chiniot to boost furniture exports to $5 billion in five years. He said statistics show that out of 59 million potential workforce, 56.5 million was employed while 3.5 million (6 per cent) were unemployed.

Over 90 per cent of the unemployed labour consists of unskilled people whereas remaining 10 per cent were those who are educated but without having any skill.

He said that market was moving rapidly towards organised segment and the share of organised employment would increase from 5% in 2017 to 13% by 2022 in Pakistan.

He said due to swift change in technology and innovation techniques, the furniture industry in Pakistan was in dire need of the skilled workers and professional designers.

He said furniture and space design must amalgamate aesthetics, culture, history, procedures, manifestation, material, purpose and visualisation.

He said Pakistan has a huge opportunity to expand its furniture and handicraft market and the government should also pays heed to this industry and launch a special campaign to boost the export of furniture, which despite being famous all over the world has very little share in the export of Pakistan.