For a country like India with 1.3 billion population, the bad news is that job-less economic growth is turning into job loss growth. Daily wagers are hit hard and this has led to the loss of jobs of white-collar workers also. Highly-paid and upwardly mobile skilled professionals who are leading aspirational lives became jobless overnight.
Some structural shifts are happening and as the digitization intensifies, remote working is likely to stay for a long time. Automation will reduce the jobs and works will be sliced and given out to full-timers and gig workers. Wages are highly linked to results and career paths are not led by experience and organizational structure. It is highly worrisome for the aspirational workforce who belongs to middle class.
When you compare India with US and Germany, labor market has adequate space to boost productivity and increase wages as workers move from villages to urban centres, informal enterprises to formal organizations, etc. India with a good labor supply has plenty of scope in attracting jobs in global textiles and manufacturing.
Formal salaried jobs are highly stable and this segment has taken the hardest hit during the covid 19. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy data, 86 million had salaried jobs during 2019-20 and this count declined to 65 million by August 2020. 18 million white-collar workers employed during Jan-Apr 2020 plummeted to 12 million by August 2020. There is a slow growth in White-collar jobs. There are worries that lost jobs during this period may not come back at all.
Despite rising literacy levels, women workforce fared very poorly in the job market. Pandemic has made things worse for women workers. Though their share in the workforce is just around 12%, job loss percentage is more than 36%. Women’s job 1.9 times highly vulnerable than male worker’s job during the pandemic. Women accounted for 55% of job loss during this pandemic. To scale up the corporate ladder, soft skills and networking with others are more important for women. Work from home environment to make things increasingly difficult for women workforce.
Policymakers should set employment as a priority for setting economic growth agenda. Instead of seeing jobs as the outcome of economic growth, we need to flip the order. Creation of employment should lead to stimulation of economic growth and this should be the line of thinking from the Government of India.
Faculty, DSCE – MBA