We Need New Jobs in India

Manufacturing, Mining, Construction, Utilities, and Power can add 40 million jobs. These are the sectors that employ a large number of people; estimated to be 125 million now and continue to remain as large employment creators.


India aspires to make the economy 5 trillion USD in the next few years. We are blessed with a demographic advantage that we must leverage to achieve this goal. Every year we have more than 10 million young people joining our labor force. If we can find suitable work opportunities for them, we will be on a strong ground to scale new peaks. At the same time, our enterprises have to improve their productivity to stay competitive in the global arena, and hence, they will contribute more to the economy without a proportionate increase in their workforce. Thus our programs have to facilitate our enterprises to achieve greater productivity as well as higher revenues. Our economy has to grow at 8-10% per annum and for that, we have to create favorable policies for the enterprises to stay competitive and agile, 10-12 million new jobs are created every year and the youth have the necessary determination and skills to create value.

What positives can we draw from our COVID19 experience?

We discovered many new ways of running the business. Traditionally, we worked out of offices, factories, stores, project sites, warehouses, and customers’ premises. Now we understood that a lot of work can happen with a mere virtual presence. Technology became an important enabler for all industry sectors; this became almost like any other utility without which life cannot function in the usual manner. Collaborative work has become more significant than ever before. Enterprises realised that they can achieve more when they collaborate with other companies while they stick to their core competencies.

As a result, new-age companies in the retailing, supply chain, education, healthcare, and many other aspects of our day-to-day life have discovered a future that is brighter than ever before. Traditional industries like hospitality, travel, tourism, and supply chain are doing their best to innovate new methods of doing business and to adapt to the new world order. Needless to say that many companies have not been able to survive due to the decline in demand for their products and the unviable cost structure to service the new demand patterns. The change in consumer behavior and demands came about so fast that companies found it hard to accommodate the volatility in the environment and the pace of change.

The lessons before us are to stay flexible so that we can spot the new opportunities and leverage them. Enterprises can diversify into new products, get into new markets or expand their existing portfolios. Employees have to similarly expand and renew their capabilities, acquire new skills and discover greener pastures so that they are not obsolescent.

The agriculture sector could shed 30 million jobs

Agriculture is the biggest in terms of employment or livelihood it generates. Over the years, due to small land holding, lack of automation, high cost of capital, and limited adoption of advanced methods and tools, productivity has been low. Nearly 200 million people are engaged in the sector and it has remained unattractive for young people who are joining the workforce. Agriculture has been an unattractive career option. The sons and daughters of the families dependent on agriculture have been seeking work opportunities in other sectors and proactively moving into the nearby cities in the pursuit of career opportunities.

It is estimated that the gradual drop in the number of people employed by the sector will fall by nearly 30 million in the current decade. The challenge here is to bring the luster back into the sector

by several policy interventions and changing the perception about the sector. Our youth has to see the opportunity of learning modern methods of agriculture, picking the right opportunities, venturing into new areas to make progress, and influencing the perceptions around the possibilities around this sector.

Manufacturing, Mining, Construction, Utilities, and Power can add 40 million jobs

These are the sectors that employ a large number of people (estimated to be 125 million now) and continue to remain as large employment creators. In the years ahead, rapid advancements in technology such as robotics, 3D printing and other forms of automation will improve productivity; as a result, reduce the number of employees required per unit of revenue. However, these sectors hold a huge promise of growth because we are a country of young people with aspirations and ambitions, growing income and consumerism. Moreover, India is emerging as a competitive manufacturing hub catering to domestic demand as well as in various parts of the world. The exports have been on the rise and the number of companies setting up their manufacturing bases has been on the rise over the last decade, a lot more is desired though. With the rapid urbanisation and rapid development of our small towns and villages, we need huge progress in the housing, road, rail, and various aspects of the infrastructure ecosystem.

For the last decade, these sectors have seen revenue growth contributing to GDP growth, however a slow growth in new jobs. Hence, these sectors have to grow at a rate that is much higher than what we have witnessed in the last decade. We see opportunities in electronics, capital goods, chemicals, textiles, apparel, auto and auto components, electric vehicles and batteries, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. India’s share of the global trade in these sectors can grow significantly with the right interventions.

Our government bodies at various levels have started studying the gaps and opportunities to drive growth; are intervening at multiple levels: skill development and upgrade, bringing in new enterprises from various parts of the world, creating opportunities for existing firms to get bigger and grow faster, making the access to finances easier and making the governance framework effective. There are many wheels in motion now in the form of reforms in land, labour, power, supply chain, capital markets and governance; we expect these will yield results soon enough to generate growth.

Our entrepreneurs need to stay positive and ambitious so that they can climb the value chain, create best-in-class products, spot new opportunities, adapt quickly to leverage them and lead the thoughts for our policymakers to create 90 million new jobs in non-farm sectors (about 40 million in these sectors) in the current decade.

Services can add 50 million jobs

The services sector has grown well in the last few years and is slated to grow further in the coming years as our country gets increasingly urbanised and at the same time, our social environment is increasingly globalised across all parts of India from our villages and the adjoining small cities to the large cities. This sector is quite large covering highly skilled professionals in the IT, Outsourcing, E-commerce, Financial Services, Education, Media, Healthcare and Professional Services industry to labour intensive domains of travel, tourism, hospitality, transportation, and warehousing. We see about 140 million people employed here and is expected to grow to 190 million in this decade.

The growth here is going to be driven by the need for high-touch and high-quality servicing needs of the customers who are getting savvier by the day and expecting high levels of innovation and personalisation across all the domains: education, healthcare, entertainment, travel, tourism, hospitality and supply chain. This is a global phenomenon, yet very pronounced in India as our society is going through a quick socio-economic transformation. Secondly, India’s reputation in IT and digital services are going to fuel the growth in the knowledge-intensive services sector. Thirdly, India’s financial services markets have huge headroom for growth in terms of public participation in capital markets, the innovation in the product offerings, and the regulatory framework.

Our schools and colleges are falling below the expectations of the industry in terms of the skills and knowledge that the young aspirants bring to their table. Our government policies on the subject of skill development are largely focused on the core sectors such as manufacturing, construction, and utilities. We will need to bring these into the focus and bridge the skills gap as soon as possible. Secondly, we need to make the companies in these sectors access growth capital in a more efficient way so that the enterprises can make the business venture viable and sustainable. Thirdly, simplification of Labour laws will certainly help these sectors as much as they will for the core sectors such as manufacturing, construction, mining, and power.

On the whole, it is a great opportunity for India has to emerge as a 5-trillion economy and be a stronger power in the world. We need to put the right policies in place and execute well. COVID19 has accelerated many changes and we are more ready than ever before to accept changes and adapt to them. The opportunity is here and now!

(The views presented in this article are the personal views of the author, Aditya Narayan Mishra - Director and CEO of CIEL HR Services)


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