The Future of Work – The case of India

The overall job landscape in the country is evolving rapidly. Current job surveys that focus on employment in the traditional sectors no longer provide an accurate representation of job creation. Growth of e-commerce and technology-based sectors is leading to the creation of new job ecosystems, which are becoming a large sources of employment. Informal employment in sectors such as infrastructure and retail is extremely large and continues to rise. Given the Government’s large investments in highways, renewable energy, urban transport, shipping, affordable housing, smart cities, Swachh Bharat, rural roads program, national waterways, airports and industrial corridors, etc., infrastructure has become one of the largest creators of jobs in the country. The overall push for entrepreneurship through schemes such as Stand-Up India, Start-Up India is also beginning to positively impact jobs and opportunities for livelihood. Any discussion on the future of jobs in the country should be in the midst of this changing job landscape.

The future of jobs in 2022 in India will be determined by the country’s response to the inevitable impact created by the interplay of three primary forces – globalization, demographic changes and the adoption of Industry 4.0 exponential technologies by Indian industries. The impact of these three primary forces is expected to be disruptive on sectors such as IT-BPM and BFSI and relatively lower on core manufacturing sectors such as apparel and leather.

These primary forces will have a significant impact on jobs through a combination of new jobs that will be created, a section of jobs that will require significantly new skill sets, and a set of jobs that may cease to exist.
It is in the context of globalization, disruptions caused by exponential technologies, and the opportunities thrown up by a large demographic dividend, that this report aims to forecast the future of jobs in India.
We are in the midst of a reversal of globalization, which was earlier, one of the largest enablers of job creation in emerging markets. This is being de-accelerated by the increased adoption of exponential technologies by developed markets, and protectionist measures that are affecting the flow of goods, services, labor, and capital.

The adoption of exponential technologies is disrupting industries by creating new markets, as well as weakening or transforming existing product market categories and industries through product or business innovations. The rapid embracing of these exponential technologies by Indian companies has the potential to transform highly unorganized sectors, such as transportation, maintenance, food catering, and software development services, into organized ones. Its impact will be dual – the share of the organized sector will increase in the economy, and new jobs will be created. With their perceived inefficiencies, sectors such as education, healthcare and the farm & allied sectors also present enormous opportunities for deployment of exponential technologies.

In terms of demographics, the two faces of demand, size and sophistication, will drive the future of jobs in India. As long as a large section of the population remains below the poverty line, wages will be depressed and an increasing number of people will have stagnant per capita income. Both these impact consumption power. Millennials who form close to 30% of the population will continue to drive future sophistication of demand.

However, despite globalization and adoption of exponential technologies, majority of respondents still believe that demographic changes will have the most impact on the future of jobs in India by 2022.

The interplay of these three forces is leading to new business models in some sectors while redefining others, as a result driving creation of new jobs in the economy. Government infused investments in infrastructure creation, agriculture, health, education, tourism and hospitality are giving new impetus to job creation in these sectors. Start-up/E-commerce driven new business models are presenting themselves as the new driver of gainful employment generation. Start-up friendly policies and schemes like MUDRA, “Start-up India, Stand-up India” are helping in reshaping Indian economy by organizing some of the highly reorganized sectors as well as creating significant employment especially for low skilled workforce. In addition to these new avenues of job creation, traditional sectors such as textiles, apparel, leather, retail are also increasing their employment potential either through technology driven efficiency improvement, attracting FDI or strengthening position in export markets.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Future of jobs in India: a 2022 perspective

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