Opinion The Jobscape

Jobs From Abroad

This is the fifth edition of The Jobscape, our weekly round-up of news and opinion on the state of employment and job creation in India. In this edition, we look at how international trade creates jobs in India, how many ‘Australias’ of jobs India has to generate, our abysmal gender bias and job scams.

Job Creation News

Vive le France! French firms have signed agreements worth $200 million Euros in Maharashtra that have the potential to generate 3000 jobs. Maharashtra is minting jobs right now. IKEA plans to create 10,000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, in Maharashtra. And the global advisory firm KPMG is looking to hire 9000 employees in India.

Mobile phone manufacturing in India may create as many as 4.7 Million jobs by 2025. Indians buying more Chinese-made mobile phones may be good for Indian jobs as the phone manufacturers are investing in local manufacturing. Xiaomi has six manufacturing plants in India in partnership with Foxconn. Oppo is establishing two new manufacturing facilities in Uttar Pradesh, and Vivo employs more than 5000 people in its plant in Noida.

Travel and tourism in India has the potential to create 10 million new jobs in the next ten years. “Travel and tourism currently accounts for 9.6% of India’s GDP, 88% of which comes from domestic travel. It also supports 9.3% of the country’s total jobs and according to a 2018 economic impact report by World Travel & Tourism Council, it will support 52.3 million jobs in 2028 against 42.9 million currently.”

India’s police-to-people ratio of 150 police per 100,000 people is one of the lowest in the world. This has given rise to the private security industry  which employs nearly 9 million people. The industry is registering an annual growth of 22% but it is currently facing a 30% manpower shortage.

The UK just made it easier for Indian nationals to get a job with the British military.

Finally, filed under “jobs we do not recommend” – in the UAE, potential terrorists fleeing India can get jihadi jobs.

“Sarkari Naukri”

The home ministry is looking for 1000 security assistants for the IB (intelligence bureau) and the Airports Authority of India is hiring for 64 junior assistant posts. We’re waiting to see how many Ph.D.’s apply.

Assam education minister, Siddharth Bhattacharya takes a stand against doling out jobs to victims of disasters and terrorist attacks. He avers “To give a job to someone’s son, we will have to snatch the job away from somebody. Many candidates may not be eligible for the job. I don’t have the courage to deprive an eligible candidate to give the job to the family of a victim.” This is a brave stance to take and I hope political pressures do not force the minister to go back on his word.

Five Australias

For some reason or another, Australia generally pops up in Indian statistics. For example, India’s population used to grow by the size of 1 Australia a year. And by 2027, India has to create the jobs equivalent of five Australias!

However, it doesn’t even seem like one Australia’s worth of jobs have been created. The Democratic Youth Federation of India (the communist party’s youth wing, although they claim to be independent) organized a rally in New Delhi, asking the PM “Where is my job, Mr. Modi?” Youth from 23 states attended the rally.  Agricultural jobs are so scarce in Punjab that youth are willing to pay a high price and risk a lot to get into Greece, illegally. Madhya Pradesh has 24 lakh educated youth who are still unemployed.

A new report published by PwC pegs the number of jobs India needs to 100 Million by 2026.

And we have to create those jobs fast. According to Soumya Kanti Ghosh, the window on India’s demographic dividend will close by 2030. NITI Aayog’s CEO Amitabh Kant agrees. 

The Gender Gap

London’s Financial Times describes the reasons behind India’s low female labour participation rate, which at 27% is roughly on par with deeply conservative Arab states.

The gender gap in Indian formal sector jobs is pervasive across industries and worse than the global average across the board. Even in areas which are globally women dominated like education, healthcare, and non-profits, men outnumber women in India.

(Chart source: Hindustan Times)

The #MeToo movement has notched up many successes, and perhaps made the workplace safer for women. However, in Madhya Pradesh, nine women were fired for filing sexual harassment complaints against the local All India Radio station’s assistant director, Ratnakar Bharti. Mr Bharti is still on the job.

Artificial Intelligence

AI will profoundly change India’s job scene. Policy makers will have to grapple with re-skilling, social security (currently the share of workers covered by at least one social security programme in India is only 19 percent as against 63 percent in China), and development of employment potential in new sectors beyond manufacturing. India needs to enhance its technical capacity from primary school to take advantage of AI’s potential.

Scaling and Skilling

Ajay Kela, CEO of Wadhwani Foundation bats for helping established small companies scale up, thereby creating jobs. According to him, “Supporting companies with 25-300 employees (Rs 5-50 crore in revenue), which already have a proven business model, and helping them scale 2x to 10x is the real job-creating opportunity. India has over 1.2 million such companies.”

Infosys’s Narayana Murthy (indirectly) delivers a devastating critique of India’s education system. Murthy thinks that to create jobs, enterprises should focus on training youth, citing the example of Infosys’s own Mysore training centre which has the capacity to train 14,000 people a day.  But if companies are anyway going to train you, why should a young person spend money and time getting an engineering degree? In the same vein, Mukesh Ambani calls for a new ecosystem to enable massive workforce upskilling.

The government’s Skill India initiative seeks to find 1.5 lakh jobs. As part of this, the Karnataka state government will amend the law to make it mandatory for shops and commercial establishments across the state to share their job vacancy details with the Skill Development Department. Sometimes it seems like most of the government jobs go into creating reports. Here’s one more report, one more request for the government to create another commission! This time it’s on job skilling.

Politics and the States

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut criticized the BJP’s “Make in India” initiative, calling it an “employment scam” and claiming that the numbers do not add up. These are harsh words from an erstwhile and possibly future ally of the ruling BJP.

In the aftermath of the riots against migrant workers, the Gujarat Chief Minister once again calls for 80% of jobs to be given to local youth. Earlier in September, he’d called for a law to enforce this. While we’re in Gujarat, local tribes are asking whether the brand new  Statue of Unity will create jobs for tribal families in the area.

Rajasthan’s SR Abhiyan has released a report claiming an institutional failure of the MGNREGA scheme in the state. According to the report the state has failed in both, providing the legal minimum of 100 days of work as well as the promised wage rate.

Job Scams

Are the multiple jobs scams in India a symptom of the larger employment crisis? Here’s a story of fake jobs in Rajasthan. The Economic Times has a primer on how the scammers work and how to detect a fake job.

In another kind of job scam, one of India’s largest banks, HDFC Bank was systematically duped by an employment agency over two years. Adeco Consultancy endorsed 68 unqualified employees by falsely misrepresenting them in their resumes.

Data

According to some reports, the Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana has created 8.5 Million jobs, with 4.7 Million being created this year (upto August). It seems too good to be true, especially as no corroborating evidence is shown.

Continuing a long standing debate, EFPO payroll data is once again questioned as a data source for job creation.

Other stories

C-suite jobs are moving away from Delhi and the NCR because of the pollution – will this environment issue cause a trickle down and lead to more job losses in the region?

How does one improve job satisfaction among India’s youth? A new report from the Observer Research Foundation has three suggestions: invest in career counselling and mentorship; let youth test out different career pathways through internships; and update skilling initiatives to be future ready.

The demand for delivery jobs is twice the supply this festive season. New Delhi has the maximum supply   with the most job postings.

The Economic and Political Weekly has a reading list on the unemployment paradox: looking at growth without jobs.

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About the author

Yazad Jal

Yazad Jal is Fellow, Economic Policy at the Takshashila Institution.
Previously he worked for McKinsey and IBM in the United States and
before that in the non-profit sector in India, last serving as CEO of
Praja Foundation in Mumbai. Yazad has an MBA from Yale University and
a BA (Econ) from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai University.