Surge in jobs for the Manufacturing Industry, but labour missing?
- May 19, 2020
- Posted by: Anshul Shukla
- Category: Uncategorized
Considered to be the most severe global crisis since World War 2, COVID-19 has become the definition of ‘silent chaos’. Annihilating everything in its path, it spread across 212 countries with over 3 million cases of infection and above 210,000 deaths. (data according to the International Labour Organisation as on 30th Apr 2020) One of the most terrifying impacts is the 9% year-on-year fall in global production. A straight plummet of 10.5% in the total number of working hours is expected in the current quarter with 305 million full time workers directly impacted.
The pace at which the drop in working hours is observed has already overtaken the 2008-09 financial crisis! The numbers are far from assuring. In the lower income strata, lower-middle-income countries would be bracing themselves for a major blow with regards to the rate of loss of working hours – a massive 12.5% collapse! (Refer to the following infographic)
~90% of the workers in India (required workplace closure) are employed in the informal economy (working in organisations not monitored by any authority). This means that they rely on daily work, daily wages and no employment protection whatsoever. Millions of such suddenly-unemployed workmen have been exposed to all sorts of survival risks including hunger and starvation with zero purchasing power. Under such grim circumstances, workers in urban areas have been forcibly displaced from their homes and have set out on foot to their rural hometowns for security.
Take a look at the impact of the crisis on some enterprises (employers and own-account workers):
Note the Impact on the manufacturing sector – the statistics are alarming!
This exodus of migrant workers has handicapped the manufacturing industry severely. This has come at a time when East Asia is poised to commence recovery of working hours among all affected regions. (In Q1 of 2020, East Asia accounted for three quarters of working hours lost globally – the contrast is stark!)
We are posed with a unique challenge i.e. kickstarting the economy by resuming manufacturing with no labour for commencement.
India Inc’s ‘Vocal for Local’drive has been vigorously promoted by the honourable Finance Minister in her tranches of announcements as part of the PM’s mega financial stimulus package. As a result industries have begun fishing for local labour to replace the outflow of migrant workers. TeamLease, a staffing firm has recorded a 30% increase in requests for unskilled and semi-skilled workers in the past week with the upward trend expected to continue in the coming weeks.
Manufacturers have been looking for skilled machine operators and production line workers with increased focus on skilling of workmen to address the current shortfall. The industry demand for workers in non-containment areas is expected to shoot upwards by another 40% this week. There is a severe shortfall in the supply of requisite human capital versus the increasing demand. Outstation workers who have not yet left for their hometowns are even being convinced to hold back with assurances of regular pay and continuous workflow.
Re-skilling of workmen will have all the attention from all industries spanning a plethora of sectors for the redressal of this problem. If you’re reading this, be advised that your current skillset although not yet obsolete might become so in the days to come. Stay tuned for more.
Voracious reading regimes coupled with a penchant for writing led me away from a glamorous yet mundane corporate career. When nobody's calling, the mountains always are - you'll invariably find me atop one.