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The puzzles and contradictions of the Indian labour market: What will the future of work look like?

Sher Singh Verick

ASARC Working Papers from The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre

Abstract: Analysing the Indian labour market poses inherent challenges given the country’s size and diversity. Rather than a case of “jobless growth”, India has experienced concentrated employment growth, mainly in urban areas and for men. Women’s participation in the labour force has declined. Some outcomes partly reflect India’s overall level of economic development. At the same time, structural transformation in other countries, including those in the region, has led to greater absorption of workers, particularly women, in manufacturing. Looking at the future of work, the current situation is likely to prevail in the near future, unless policy interventions inject a structural shift in trends. This means that workers will continue to leave agriculture and seek employment in urban areas. But the ability of the manufacturing sector to engage workers will be constrained by the capital and skill intensity of production, which will be further impacted by technological change. More wage employment will be created but the challenge is to ensure these workers have access to social security and other benefits. As women become better educated, their participation in the labour force is likely to increase but many constraints keep them out of paid employment.

Keywords: Jobless growth; Female labour force participation; Informal sector; Manufacturing sector employment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J21 J22 J46 J48 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:pas:asarcc:2017-02