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The Post-Pandemic Future Of The Blue-Collar Workforce

The entire blue-collar value chain is seeing significant digitalisation. For example, in hiring – employers have started seeking large-scale solutions for matching jobs and job seekers.

The pandemic, perhaps the toughest economic crisis in my memory, and will have a lasting impact on the Indian job market – especially on the blue-collar workforce. However, as the economy recovers, businesses and other organizations are resuming operations. This is likely to create a heightened demand for blue-collar workers. According to our recent Blue Collar – State of the Industry report 2021, India is likely to see 7 million job blue-collar job opportunities in 2021, which is 137% of the demand in 2020.

Alongside this rise, there is a noticeable shift in the way a blue-collar employee is managed. The entire blue-collar value chain is seeing significant digitalization. For example, in hiring – employers have started seeking large-scale solutions for matching jobs and job seekers. It includes remote and smart screening solutions and self-onboarding and verification tools. With the adoption of technology, all aspects like hiring, verification, training and learning, attendance management, payroll and compliance management, benefit distribution have become digital and are being managed on a single platform seamlessly.

One other notable trend that is emerging across sectors and job roles is the rise in the gig economy. While this was earlier limited to the white-collar segment in India, it is seeing fast-scale adoption for a variety of blue-collar jobs. Technology has made it easier to match and supply on-demand services at scale. It provides blue-collar employees with flexible work hours, more earning opportunities, and transparency with respect to payments. For the employer, it aids in hassle-free and seamless hiring and onboarding, verified employees with good credentials, better quality output, and availability on demand. The concept of gig workers has been highly accepted especially amongst the young blue-collar employees, who tend to be ambitious and seek a better living. This has been aided by a change in the mindset from a stable job to maximizing earnings.

With end-to-end solutions for employers (on-demand, reliable, trained, and verified resource availability, seamless & timely pay-out management, and adhering to any compliance requirements) and employees (schedule management, training, earnings tracker, and ample opportunity availability), the gig is expected to see a multi-fold increase going forward across sectors.

We are also likely to see a shift in the migration pattern of the blue-collar workforce. With businesses expanding their reach to small towns, local employment rates are expected to rise, especially in the delivery sector. We are likely to witness reduced inter-state migration with more gig jobs in smaller towns and cities.

Another critical change noticed is the employer mindset. They are looking at these jobs beyond mere transactions and investing in the relationship with the blue-collar employees. Leading companies are actively working towards improving their living conditions, offering upskilling and financial options and other benefits like an insurance for self and family, etc – beyond those mandated by the law. This is a positive trend which is a win-win for both the employers and the employees. Employers have also started hiring more women, even in male-dominated areas like delivery and driving – bringing in a positive impact on the lives of these individuals.

While these have been difficult times for the entire ecosystem, the emerging trends give us a lot of hope for the future of the blue-collar workforce. These changes in the employer’s mindset, in the employee’s expectation, with the proposed regulatory framework, and with the overall technology capabilities and solutions will create significantly more opportunities than ever before.

Source: Business World

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