Unemployed or Unemployable

This is first of a two part blog highlighting the plight of the informal job sector in India and what needs to be done to mitigate the risk of a largely unemployable youth populace.

In a recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Labour Relations, it was found that India despite being on an upward trajectory is still struggling to create more jobs and employers are finding it increasingly difficult to hire employable workers.

labour trends

Although the service industry has reported the maximum growth in labour quality-measured in education and experience since 1985, the industry reportedly has the highest no of workers lacking vocational training of any sorts.

A 2015 CII report co-authored by two researchers from the NITI Aayog, Sunita Sanghi and A. Srija, showed that an overwhelming majority of workers in India lack vocational training. And a majority of those who had acquired such training was informally i.e. either on the job, individual learning or through a transfer of skills from an expert to an apprentice.

Formally trained labour in India is as low at 4.69% when compared to Germany (75%) and South Korea(96%). With only about 45.6% of India`s formally educated youth employable, growth in labour quality does not always translate into a growth in skills. Education is not synonymous with skills. Out of India`s youth enrolled in the formal schooling system, more than half struggle with division problems and less than half of them can add weights correctly in kilograms. About four in ten could not tell the time correctly.

However, high quality education delivers foundational skills (literacy, numeracy, comprehension and reasoning) that are necessary for the successful acquisition of vocational and professional skills. More skill-intensive industries therefore require more educated workers.

Home healthcare too being a subset of the services industry struggles with finding and training workers who can be proven to be an asset. Due to limited or nil education, training informal caregivers on basic nursing skills like ALS, BLS, First Aid and CPR is difficult due to poor motivation among workers to learn and limited comprehension and retention skills due to years of absence from schooling of any kind. Though popular as a profession among the unemployed, standards of caregiving suffer due to the above reasons.

Reading names of medicines, identifying and noting down readings from the BP Monitor or Glucometer, seeing the time or reading books or newspaper to the patient seems herculean tasks for caregivers from the informal sector. In contrast, sponging the patient/child, changing diapers and assisting in basic mobility are tasks which workers learn on the job and are very receptive in picking up and administering.

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The lack in education and training though is compensated by sincerity and dedication in this sector. Workers with a  resolve to improve their lot are known to be this good at their work and inter-personal skills that is only left to our imagination to visualize the scale they can go to if given the proper resources and exposure.

If given an incentive to learn, train and practice professionally, many of the jobs in the informal sector will see a renewed interest by the youth for which there is a unlimited demand in the market.

In our second part, we explore how we can solve this problem and how we at YouCare are finding a solution to motivate more drop-outs and the unemployed to take up education courses and vocational training and become self-reliant and independent.

Till next time, #YOUCARE.

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