The greatest paradox of jobless growth

India has been the fastest growing economy in the world, a bright spot globally yet the latest reports reveal that job creation is at a low. In India there are men and women bearing the brunt of not only a deepening economic slump but also years and decades of growing strains on middle class families. During an economic slowdown, the GDP i.e. the sum total of all that an economy produces - falls at the fastest rate within a quick span of time. Household or domestic wealth including stocks, pensions and property value seem to plummet. Our country has been the victim of such scenarios.

It was estimated that 300 million youth would enter the workforce by 2025. Hence such huge number of jobs must also be available in the market. But the jobless growth is a real phenomenon because it indicates that growth is not sustainable. India needs to have a growth strategy that is employment based. Is there an actual dearth of jobs in India? Seeing India in the larger context, 90-93% of the workforce are in the informal sector. Thus only 7-10% is actually growing, thus slowly and steadily these profits may also start dwindling. A large number of businesses, a large number of our work that happens on a daily basis happens with people who are coming from the more vulnerable and unprivileged sectors.

Jobs are actually created in India. Factories are coming up and buildings are being put up on a regular basis. So, the informal sector which constitutes almost 90% of the workforce is actually able to get jobs. But why are we so alarmed about not being enough jobs? To this the answer is Yes, they do find jobs but they are not long term. Most of them dropout at certain stage, they leave the market and sit idle. This wastes the resources of the government that is invested in skill training and vocational training. Companies also end up squandering money that is spent on recruiting employees and finding the required skill set. Companies now-a-days do not just look at profit margins, they look at sustainable growth too which will be hand in hand in having a happy workforce.

We need to make a distinction between the total number of jobs and the quality of jobs that are being created. A fast-growing economy generally indicates the creation of a large number of jobs. So is the case with India. The economic growth has definitely created more jobs in India. The employment rate doesn’t seem to have changed much. It is growing more or less at the rate of the labour force. It has catered to the increasing demand of jobs in the informal sector. The hue and cry is about the quality of jobs available in India. The disappointment has been the fact that there hasn’t been good enough growth in high quality jobs.

Thus, everybody in India who wants a job, actually has one. They just don’t have the desired salary. Our unemployment rate is not a fudge. The tagline has changed from “Naukri dila do” (Get me a job) to “Acchi naukri dila do” (Get me a good job). We cannot expect 21st century jobs with skills and education system which is grounded in 20th century knowledge. It is the skill set that has to enhanced at an alarmed rate.

Kanchan Sharma
PGDM Batch 2019-21