Türkiye İnşaat Sanayii Çalışma Standartlarının Sektörel Gelişim Üzerinden Değerlendirilmesi

Translated title of the contribution: An Evaluation of Labor Standards in the Turkish Construction Industry from a Perspective of Sectoral Development

Derya Gültekin-Karakaş, Ferimah Yusufi, Mehtap Hisarciklilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Turkish construction industry has achieved rapid growth since the 2000s. The sector plays a significant role for the national economy due to its contribution to job creation, industrialization and economic growth. However, the sector has been widely criticized because of heavy work conditions and high rates of work accidents. The construction industry generally grows faster than GDP in expansion periods and shrinks more during the crisis years. While these fluctuations make the construction industry more unstable, they also affect its employees more negatively than the general economic course during recessions in construction activities. Workplace health and safety standards do not gain priority in a sectoral structure where small and medium-sized companies, subcontractors and contracting services are predominant. On the contrary, the existing structure negatively affects the work conditions and occupational health and safety in many respects. With the growth of the construction sector, while employment rates increase, the rates of occupational accidents, occupational diseases, permanent incapacity and death also go up. Dissatisfaction of the construction workers with the profession and the low prestige attributed to this line of work lead to high labor turnover rates across the sector. The widespread seasonal work in the construction sector as well as the employment of domestic and foreign migrant workers further lower down the labor standards.

To fulfil its role in the development of Turkey sustainably and more importantly, to become a decent work area that values human rights, the construction industry needs to provide a more secure and safer work environment. Given the job and social insecurities and the low education of the workforce in general, the sector becomes trapped in a vicious cycle of low skill-low productivity, failing to initiate a sustainable growth pattern based on high value-added production. The sector will continue to show high sensitivity in the face of crises without raising the current work conditions to certain standards through an institutional restructuring.

This study aims to identify problems regarding the existent work standards in the Turkish construction sector and to develop policy recommendations for improvement. To this end, in light of the findings obtained from the literature review, an overall assessment of the construction sector and the work conditions is made based on a descriptive analysis of secondary data at sector and firm levels that cover the post-2000 period. In the analysis, data from the Turkish Republic Presidency Strategy and Budget Directorate, TURKSTAT, CBRT and SGK are used. Policy recommendations for improving the workplace standards are developed to enhance the health, skill and job satisfaction of the workers and to achieve a sustainable growth path in the sector.
Translated title of the contributionAn Evaluation of Labor Standards in the Turkish Construction Industry from a Perspective of Sectoral Development
Original languageTurkish
Pages (from-to)191-230
Number of pages40
JournalMülkiye Dergisi
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2021


  • Construction sector
  • Work standards
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Work accidents
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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