I have been writing ("trying to write", would be a more accurate description;) a paper on Indian workforce and the interventions required to make it gainfully productive.
In the process, finally, I was able to compile those odd bits of information that I had been collecting over time from various sources. Just thought that this may be interesting to share the two contrasting scenarios, of "tremendous opportunity" and "hopeless inadequacy" about workforce/employment trends in India:
[Note: Since this a work-in-progress, I have still not compiled/linked the references... But if you are interested, you will find most of these facts-and-figures on the Net... Just "google"]
Scenario 1: Tremendous Opportunity:
During last few years, deregulation and technology have brought many new and fast-growing industries into Indian business scene. The growth of, and investments in, sectors such as ITES-BPO, telecom, and, more recently, retail have radically altered the Indian business landscape, and have created huge opportunities as well as challenges.
Consider, for instance:
The optimism and buoyancy, however, fades if one looks at these opportunities, not merely in the context of the corporate business, but within the perspective of overall economy and state of the work-force. In contrast to these opportunities, the profile and trends of Indian work-force shows a widening gap in the availability of requisite skills to leverage on these opportunities. Consider, for instance:
Scenario 2: Hopeless Inadequacy:
So is this a source of real concern?
...well, yes, and no - depending on how one views it.
Much of our policy, interventions and thrust is focused on the assumption that the "employment/job-creation" solution lies in "big business" (creation of SEZs, FDIs into sectors, incentives to big private sector players, etc.).
Without underestimating the contribution of the "big" private corporate in the organised sector to growth of economy/GDP, etc., the fact still remains that the big, private players merely contributes to 2.5% of India's employment. Even if this sector grows by 30%/annum over the next 5 years, it will actually contibute to less than 1% growth to the employment!!
(now before someone pounces on this statement, please let me clarify: "real" people in a society do not eat GDP figures or "feel-good" statistics - they need a gainful employment)
The fact also remains that this is the trend world-over: the unorganised sector (sometimes overlapping with the SMEs - the small & medium enterprises) contributes to the huge chunk of employment generation, e.g.,:
Perhaps that is why the Planning Commission's Vision 2020 mentions:
"Therefore, the unorganised sector, including small and medium enterprises, must play a central role in the country’s employment strategy. This will require modification of policies and programmes to level the playing field, improve availability of credit, increase productivity, raise quality consciousness and competitiveness, and enhance job quality.
Recent experiences of different countries in the context of globalisation also demonstrate that SMEs are better insulated from the pressures generated by the volatility of world trade and capital markets. They are more resistant to the stresses, and more responsive to the demands of the fast-changing technologies..."
And in India:... The "unorganised/informal sector" contributes to
And who constitute the bulk of this "unorganised/informal sector" in India?
- the vendors and hawkers of vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, snack-foods and a myriad of non-perishable items ranging from locks and keys, soaps and detergents, clothing, vessels to books...
- the owners of those numerous stalls and kiosks selling various things and services... as the road-side cobblers, barbers, tailors, book-binders, cycle mechanics... as the garbage collectors, rag-pickers... construction workers... Landless labours
- the head-loaders, cart-pullers, camel/bullock/horse-cart drivers ferrying goods/passengers to other places... and of course, the rickshaw and auto rickshaw drivers... the truck drivers...
- down the narrow crowded lanes, those who work in/own small workshops that repair bicycles and motorcycles, recycle scrap metal, make furniture and metal parts, tan leather and stitch shoes, weave, dye, and print cloth, polish diamonds and other gems, make and embroider garments, sort and sell cloth, paper, and metal waste... and more.
- the ones who remain "invisible" and produce and sell from their homes/shanties (mostly women) as garment makers, embroiderers, incense stick rollers, bidi-rollers, paper bag makers, kite makers, hair band makers, pickle and papad-makers, and others.
- the maids, domestic servants, chauffeurs, gardners... the person who comes to wash the car, to deliver newspaper, milk...
What are the options?!!
Nopes! I don't know (not as yet)... I am still writing the paper!
UPDATE (Sept 28,'06): The paper did finally get complete. Titled "From Corporate-Centric to Socially-Relevant HR: A Concept Note", can be downloaded (right click, save)