Posted on : March 15, 2018

In  an important revelation for the Indian job markets , the International Labour Organization (ILO), has disclosed that globally, vulnerable employment is on the rise.

Vulnerable employment, as defined by the UN, is the sum of the employment status groups of own-account workers and contributing family workers. Vulnerable employment is often characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity and difficult conditions of work that undermine workers’ fundamental rights.

The report titled the World Employment Social Outlook Trends 2018 , reveals that in 2017, around 42 percent of workers (or 1.4 billion) worldwide were estimated to be in vulnerable forms of employment.In India, the numbers will soon reach a point where it roughly affects three out of four workers.

The Indian context

The report notes that in India, around 77 percent of Indian workers will be engaged in vulnerable employment by 2019. The figure, though alarming, is not a recent development. It is in tune with what labor experts in India have been cautioning against for years now — the increase in the creation of vulnerable forms of employment and the excessive dependence on the informal sector jobs.

The findings of this report by ILO are crucial as they point to the quality of jobs being created in the country. According to what the report mentions, a large proportion of the jobs being created is of poor quality and is expected to remain so. The report also notes that “while there has been strong job creation in some Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-intensive services, notably in India, a significant portion of the jobs created in the services sector over the past couple of decades have been in traditional low value-added services, where informality and vulnerable forms of employment are often dominant.”

Decoding the effects

The rise in vulnerable employment is not a healthy sign for the Indian economy especially. In addition to pushing a significant percentage of the working population into jobs that are unregulated and contractual, it will have many secondary effects.

The growth of jobs has been a heavily contested issue within the Indian economy, with many policies in place that seek to boost economic productivity and increase employment opportunities. But it has to be ensured that a shift towards an increase in employment also means that the dependence of the workforce on vulnerable job opportunities go down, and in this, the quality of jobs created becomes an important factor. However, the high dependence of workers on informal jobs — it affects around 90 percent of all workers in India — still remains a big challenge to the positive push to grow the number of jobs, and it still continues to undermine the prospects of further reducing the working poor. (Story courtesy : people