Better Work is a partnership programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) established in 2007. Its objective is to improve labour standards and promote competitiveness in global supply chains in developing countries. The focus is on long-term sustainable solutions which build cooperation between government, employers’ and workers’ organizations, and international buyers. Better Work consists of seven country programmes. Better Work Jordan has operated since 2008.
International migrants, mostly from South Asia, constitute the majority of the apparel sector workforce in Jordan today. Much of the industry’s success in the country is based upon a business model that relies on the relatively lower wages and long working hours migrant labourers are willing to accept (and in the case of wages, employers are permitted by law to offer). At the same time, one-third of the sector’s workforce are Jordanian, predominantly women, who often are recruited to work in “satellite” factories in rural regions. These satellite factories are counterpart to factories located in Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZs).
Better Work has conducted impact assessment research in Jordan to determine the causal relationship between project interventions and enterprise level changes in labour standards and economic performance, benefits to workers in the form of higher wages, skill acquisition, access to health care and personal aspirations and broader social goals of poverty alleviation, educational attainment, access to health care, microenterprise development and export promotion. Better Work has collaborated with research partners from 2010 to 2016 to collect micro data in five countries from workers, managers and supervisors in garment factories. Data collected through the impact assessment project, paired with BW’s compliance assessment data and matched by unique factory IDs, have enabled analysis on the link between working conditions and worker well-being, firm competitiveness, and the unique contribution of observed changes attributed to Better Work service provision. Increasingly, tools and research strategies are under development to expand BW’s research agenda to understand the programme’s spillover effects to life conditions outside the factory.
In 2019, Better Work Jordan re-launched survey efforts to better understand the opinions and situation or workers in the Jordanian garment industry. Five rounds of data collection have been conducted since 2019, with roughly 1,500 workers surveyed in each round. A new, random sample of workers is chosen each year, comprising roughly 2% of workers in the sector. A managers’ survey has also been implemented in parallel with one manager in each factory surveyed. In 2021, a supervisors’ survey was introduced covering roughly 7% of supervisors in the sector.
The data collection carried out as part of this assignment will contribute to efforts to continue to measure the impact of the Better Work Jordan programme. They will also be used to provide data and evidence for policy makers and key stakeholders in the garment industry.
Objective and scope of work
Continue consistent and high-quality data collection in Better Work Jordan participating factories by surveying workers, supervisors, and managers.
Scope of Work
The scope of work will focus on carrying out data collection among workers, supervisors, and managers across the industry in Jordan according to an agreed sample with Better Work. . The following considerations need to be taken into account in the scope of work:
Survey method. Better Work’s use of Audio-Computer Assisted Self- Interview (ACASI) survey has been a response to finding a way to elicit from workers honest feedback about their work and home life. The current survey will use Qualtrics survey software for surveys of workers, supervisors and managers. When possible, survey respondents can access the survey on their personal mobile phones, but tablet computers can also be provided if this is not possible.
Language. As migrant workers make up 75% of the garment workforce in Jordan, eliciting perspectives from workers must take language and cultural barriers into account. The current workers’ survey is translated into Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Sinhalese and Nepali along with audio recordings for all but Arabic. The managers’ survey is available in Arabic and English. The supervisors’ survey is available in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi and Sinhalese, with audio recordings for all but Arabic. All language translations and recordings are completed and are ready for use in data collection. During data collection someone should be on-site to answer any questions that respondents might have in their own language.
Timing. BWJ seeks to collect data in regular intervals, with data collection happening between June and August consistently. Given the dynamics of working time in the garment industry, six successive Fridays in each month are suggested as the moments in time when data are collected. Workers should be selected from the production line during the workday and provided with instructions for joining the survey on Friday. Supervisors and managers should be surveyed on the spot during the workday. The timetable for 2023 data collection will be determined in conjunction with proposals received.
Scale and sample. The Better Work Jordan program works with 90 garment factories employing around 75,000 workers. Many of these factories and workers are clustered in several QIZs, which will assist in creating efficiencies for reaching workers. The sample size will be around 2-3 % of the workforce, and informed by past stratified sampling strategies. Most workers are located in the three main industrial zones in Irbid, Dulyle and Sahab. There are also around 8,000 workers spread out in approximately 25 satellite factories. These are mostly located in the north, with some factories in the southern areas. There is a significant cluster of factories in Aqaba as well.
Table 1: Location distribution of garment workers in participating factories
The sample will follow a semi randomized stratified design to match the gender and nationality breakdown at the factory level. All factories should be included in the survey to the extent possible (in the past, a few factories have refused to participate).
Data collection procedures. The data collection approach will be based on recent surveys executed in July/August 2022, and will be adjusted as needed during implementation and as agreed with Better Work.
Management buy-in. In the past, factory management have resisted data collection for multiple reasons: the surveys are costly in terms of the time needed to remove participants from the production line; there is often confusion regarding the purpose of the survey, including where and how the data are shared; and there is general aversion to allowing researchers to interact with workers. Communication with management, either directly by the consultant or through Better Work, will be key to a successful data collection.
Additional requirements for worker-level data collection
- Workers provide freely informed consent to participate in survey.
- Workers understand the purpose of the survey, and where their responses are going and for what purpose.
- Process of data collection and data management fulfils all IRB/Better Work data protocol requirements.
- We avoid perception that BW is paying for worker responses to research surveys, but proper consideration and effective incentive strategy is developed, including in-kind or other non-cash incentive.
The research partner will have the following responsibilities:
- Recruit and mobilize an experienced and qualified team to plan and conduct survey data collection. Some enumerators should have the ability to speak Hindi, Bangla, Sinhalese and Nepalese.
- Take lead role in developing procedures for collecting data, to be discussed and finalized in cooperation with Better Work.
- In cooperation with Better Work Jordan, schedule and arrange for data collection.
- Implement agreed methods for survey data collection.
- Provide for transportation and subsistence of survey team while conducting data collection.
- Provide weekly updates on data collection process to Better Work Jordan and Better Work global staff.
- Provide input on data cleaning (Better Work staff will implement the data cleaning procedures).
Further details on executing the responsibilities will be provided during implementation of the project.
Expressions of interests
Expressions of interests comprised of a technical and financial proposal, as well as the CV of principal researchers may be sent to email@example.com by June 10, 2023. Due to the nature of the project service providers that can mobilize a team of enumerators are encouraged to apply. Only selected applicants will be contacted for an interview.