Unskilled, Semi-Skilled & Skilled Labour or Worker – Definition & Differences

The terms unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled & highly skilled labour are used for differentiation in Minimum wages of different labour types. But the Minimum Wages Act 1948 does not provide the definition of these terms. The act is silent about the division of labours based on skill levels. You can visit my article for a quick overview of the Minimum Wages Concept, Fixation & The Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

The definitions of these labour types slightly differ from each schedule of employment but can be generally defined as below –

Definition of Unskilled Labour, Semi-Skilled Labour, Skilled Labour & Highly Skilled Labour

Unskilled Worker

“Unskilled” work means work which involves simple operation requiring little or no skill or experience on the job. The labour involved in this type of work is an unskilled Worker.

Semi-Skilled Worker

“Semi-skilled” work means work which involves some degree of skill or competence acquired through experience on the job and which is capable of being performed under the supervision or guidance of a skilled employee and includes un-skilled supervisory work. The labour involved in this type of work is a Semi-Skilled Worker.

Skilled Worker

“Skilled” work means work which involves skill or competence acquired through experience on the job or through training as an apprentice or in a technical or vocational institute and the performance of which calls for initiative and judgment. The labour involved in this type of work is a Skilled Worker.

Highly Skilled Worker

“Highly Skilled” work means work which calls for a high degree of performance and full competence in the performance of certain tasks, acquired through intensive technical or professional training or practices, work experience for long years and also required for workers to assure full responsibility for the judgment or decisions involved in the execution of these tasks. The labour involved in this type of work is a Highly Skilled Worker.

While declaring the minimum wages, some states do not provide wages for Highly Skilled Worker. In such cases, the wages of Skilled worker are applicable for Highly Skilled Work also.

Source of definitions –

Above definitions are as per gazette notification on labour department website of Odisha government- –http://labour.odisha.gov.in/LED/GazetteNotification/636_Minimum_Wages.pdf

Examples of different categories of labour as per government sources

You can classify the work as per the definitions provided above. In case you need further understanding, going through the below examples of different categories of work as per Labour department, will help you –

Bidi Making Industry in Madhya Pradesh

Source – http://labourbureau.nic.in/MW3ch5.htm

In bidi making industry in MP, all the time-rated (monthly/daily paid) workers have been classified into three broad categories as Skilled, Semi-skilled and Unskilled workers. The occupations’ which comprise these three skill categories as per the Labour Bureau, are as under: –

1. Skilled : Driver (Heavy Vehicle), Accountant, Munim, Cashier, Store Keeper, Head Clerk, Godown keeper
2.Semi-Skilled : Sorter/Checker, Bhattiwala, Driver (Light Vehicle), Typist, Billman, Clerk
3.Unskilled: Loader, Un-loader, Puda Maker and Chowkidar.

Categories of Labour in different scheduled employments in Gujarat

Gujarat Labour government website provides the list of jobs which come under skilled, semi-skilled & unskilled classification for each of the scheduled employments. You can refer the Notification from the below link –


Karnataka Labour Journal available on Karnataka Labour department website provides the list of work for each scheduled employment. You can refer the Labour Journal from the below link –


Let us know if you have any queries regarding the above classification. If you find the article useful, then take out 2 minutes time to like/comment on this post.