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Colombian Footwear Industry Struggles with Labour Shortage

The Colombian Association of Footwear, Leather and Leather Goods (ACICAM) estimates that the country's footwear manufacturers have closed 2022 with a production of 50 million pairs of shoes, with production growing by 20.4% between January and October, year-over-year. This increase in production was reflected in the level of exports, as, in the first ten months of 2022, they rose by 40.3%, reaching 34.1 million US dollars, on a comparable basis to the revenue of 24.3 million US dollars recorded in the same period of 2021.


However, according to William Parrado, director of Economic Research at ACICAM, there are some clouds on the horizon. Cost increases, driven by upwards inflation, which in the case of some inputs reached 50%, may slow down production in 2023, but the shortage of qualified labour is also a main concern. "On top of this, there is a labour problem, as qualified personnel is not readily available", pointed out Parrado, who believes that employment in the industry is no longer attractive for younger generations.


Currently, the footwear sector employs 83 000 people, and the figure rises to 125 000 employees when including the leather and leather goods sector, but the association estimates the labour shortage at 30 000. "We are working with SENA [the National Training Service] and other institutions to attract this workforce", he concluded to the El Colombiano.



Source: World Footwear