The term “labourers” is often used interchangeably with “low-skilled workers”, but this is only one side of the story, as their jobs can range from simple waste processing loading-unloading to strategic movements on the production line. Without a doubt, workers are the backbone of any industry, whether manufacturing or service.
According to various sources, the number of workers in India ranges between 30 and 45 crores. To find work, a laborer will typically resort to mass recruiters or contractors. The majority of these jobs are filled by small businesses that rely on temp agencies or contractors. They have to pay high commissions to find an employee when they come into contact with one of them, which can range from 5 to 10%. Even employees sometimes have to pay commissions to obtain these positions.
This old approach is inefficient and benefits intermediaries rather than active players (workers or companies). It is time consuming, expensive and unstructured. There is no help for employees after they are placed in a certain position or after they leave that job.
These organizations or companies do not keep records (digital or otherwise) of the jobs performed by such workers, which could help those workers find other employment in the future. Employees have little to no flexibility when it comes to geography or work hours, and no coaching or mentoring is provided to help them improve their level of skills or performance.
The current system has flaws
Despite being a socio-economically rich country, India has the highest unemployment rate in the world. One explanation for all of this is that there is no effective mechanism in the Labor ecosystem to link supply and demand. Even if we have a large number of manpower available, they are unevenly distributed across the country, therefore there will be one region or place with an oversupply of manpower while another may not be sufficient in this regard. Another problem is that employees’ competencies are more focused on the type of work usually available to them in their environment.
The paradigm shift
COVID has revolutionized in ways no one could have predicted since its inception in 2020. Employees and businesses alike were affected. The widespread emigration caused unprecedented levels of supply and demand shortages in all industries. The Work-from-the-home system was a White Collar Job concept, with few prospects for less qualified colleagues.
This also fostered an environment in which workers were hesitant to return to their previous place of employment due to the potential for further lockdowns, as well as a lack of desire to leave their family or home.
Fortunately, by this time, the government’s ambition to digitize the financial system and the nation was well underway. COVID-19 presented just the right scenario to implement it on a large scale, which naturally encouraged a variety of new approaches to the work being done.
Moreover, the pressure from the government to revive the economy through initiatives such as Atmanirbhar Bharat and PLI (Production Linked Incentive) started to create opportunities across the country.
Technology can have a major impact on workers’ workforce management. We are on the brink of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which will be defined by the integration of different technologies and the crossing of physical and digital world boundaries.
Many things have changed due to technology and many professions have become obsolete, but the human factor has not been lost. People who make the real connections between people and services, such as grocery delivery, packers and movers, and so on, are still workers. While technology has developed the laws of the sport, they are the conduit through which the entire service takes place on the ground.
The emergence of digital recruiting platforms, paperless onboarding, geo-fenced attendance systems, automated payroll, automated compliance systems and opportunities to digitally refresh, get loans and advancement opportunities at the click of a button on a single platform in the workforce arena will ensure that unprecedented changes in workforce management. The main advantage of these platforms is the equal availability of labor across the country. Workers can find jobs in areas that are right for them.
At a very fast pace, industry and enterprises could discover individuals with the relevant skills they need. These platforms can provide authentication and employment credentials of these people, as well as ensure accountability and decent wages to workers, which is a significant gap in the conventional system.
These platforms encourage on-demand hiring, which reduces fixed costs for businesses, while also allowing employees to work how and when they want. Online platforms would also help organizations by providing additional services such as attendance tracking, payroll, and employee accounting, among other things, so that management focus is solely on business tasks and efficiency is increased.
The revival of workers is taking place and technology is the source of this revival. Workers are no longer classified as ‘B’ workers. With startups becoming unicorns and traditional businesses gaining multiples of their income, it’s their workers who award them these titles. The time has come to give them back, and as an employer or organization one can do this by making them part of your workplace culture and upskilling them in the same way as your employees. In general, technology has played an important role in the management of workers.
The above views are those of the author.
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