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Indian Job Market Statistics

We have been told that the Indian economy has been running like a mad bull, surpassing China in the recent past as the fastest growing major economy. This raging bull will be constantly hungry for more manpower, something India is in no shortage of. Our population is significantly below 35 years and is expected to get younger by 2020 (go figure!)

But are we prepared to accommodate this massive workforce growth? The net employment outlook (percentage of net employment opportunities expected by recruiters), though on a positive turn, back in the latter half of 2017 stood only at 18%.

This was a much smaller rise as compared to the hiring intentions in the years before, when the net employment outlook in 2005 was in the neighbourhood of 40%, showing a decline of nearly 20% points over the years, as per Manpower Group’s survey.

In this article, we will take a shallow dive into employment statistics and outlook, as per various studies and industrial sectors.

Indian Job Market Statistics


Employment in India by Industrial Sectors

According to the KLEMS India Database, a research supported by the Reserve Bank of India, growth rate of total employment (in percentage) in the total Indian economy has shrunk, as compared to its previous years, as of 2015-16.

From a 2.4% growth in the early 1980s, it is now at a 0.1% decline, with a hopeful 0.1% improvement over the decline the year before. Though this big picture comprises of several successful and other not-so-successful sectors like Agriculture.

Indian job market statistics

Moving on from the bird’s eye view to a ground level status, here are some sector wise takeaways according to TeamLease’s Employment Outlook Report 2017-18.

The net employment change refers to the number of respondents interested in hiring minus the number who are not, over the next six months of the financial year. The second column refers to employment outlook change of the second half of the 2017-18 financial year over the first.

Popular Sectors Net Employment Change Remarks
Financial Services 3% Increase in RBI licenses to private sector to improve the sector
Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) 2% Demand for analytics professionals to increase
Health & Pharmaceuticals 1% Large scale medical establishments fuelling hiring. Specialized health care professionals to be in demand. Eg: Hospice, Ambulatory Care, etc
eCommerce & Tech Startups 1% Demand for data analysts, machine learning, UX/UI designers etc to increase
Power & Energy 1% Government funding to help hiring, with renewable energy sector to hire maasively
Media & Entertainment 1% Revenues are rising and the sector is expected to grow massively
Telecommunications 0% 5G, M2M, IoT to increase recruitment demand
Retail 0% Major brands will expand. Walmart to open up 40k+ jobs in the north
Information Technology 0% Firms hiring on strict need-basis, except for Infosys. Industry is predicted to create 20-38% fewer jobs
Educational Services -1% Need for skilled workers in analytics, machine learning, etc. Though heavily dependent on govt. initiatives for job creation.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods & Durables -1% Hiring on hold except for certain major Indian brands
Manufacturing, Engineering & Infrastructure -2% Hiring has declined, though showing possible signs of improvement.
BPO/ITeS -3% Hiring has declined.

Other sectors like Power & Energy, Media, Telecommunications, and Retail had little to no change in employment outlook. Whereas Travel & Hospitality, Agriculture and Construction & Real Estate are taking big employment hits in the neighbourhood of 4-7% decline.


As far as salary trends are concerned, according to the Q3 2017 Salary Budget Planning Report by Willis Tower Watson, India is projected to increase salaries by 2-3% in middle management level for average performers, a still or decline in salary hikes in upper management, while an overall average of 10% for junior management.

The sectors with the largest hikes are in Energy, Retail, and FMCG. Projected salary in Financial Services is less than other sectors while Media and Pharmaceuticals is projected to be less than their 2017 salary hikes.

Concerns with Indian Employment Outlook

With a billion mouths to feed, and nearly 500 million in the Indian workforce, creation and sustenance of jobs is the way out of the bleak employment outlook. Though largely positive in many sectors, the growth is simply not enough and some of the culprits are obvious, but not easily solvable.

Though promises by governments and their policies seem to be ever increasing, the country is still suffering from large scale unemployment, and promise of job creation keeps alluding the population. Here are some major problems, among others, that are plaguing the Indian employment landscape.

  • India has a huge skill gap. Here’s how our working population, aged 15-59 years, among the 470+ million labour force, fall in the education spectrum.

    Education Level Number (in millions) Share in Labour Force
    Illiterate 125.65 26.73%
    Literate without formal schooling 2.12 0.45%
    Below Primary + Primary 102.38 21.78%
    Middle 76.08 16.18%
    Secondary 52.39 11.14%
    Higher Secondary 29.19 6.21%
    Diploma/Certificate 6.02 1.28%
    Graduate + Above 37.41 7.96%

    Source: Planning Commission 2017

When over 65% of your workforce is less than high-school pass, with nearly 50% with primary or less education, there is clearly a skill problem. And a lack of sufficient skill can lead to a lack of decent employment opportunities.

  • The income distribution in India is still unequal. The Indian Middle Class (middle 40%) has grown by only 102%, between 1980 and 2014, as compared to an average of 187% for other regions of the world. The top 10% population still earn the majority (56.1%) of the income share. While the bottom 50% earn less than 15% of the income share (Source).Theoretically, such an income gap suggests long term joblessness, unemployment, and the effects of lack of job creation. Such perpetual inequality causes a large section of the population to be unable to find their way out of the cyclic poverty with the help of resources, education, and employment.
  • Finally, there are just not enough jobs. Whether it is the lack of resources, government restrictions and policies, inadequate education, lack of support for job creation,market mismatch, or good ol’ corruption. The fact remains that around 31 million unemployed Indians are currently out of job, according to a report by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. And this is not likely to change soon.

Let us be hopeful of our status as being one of the youngest workforce countries in the world. However, if we don’t actively work to improve for the future, the Growth Rate of Total Economy Employment plot above will increasingly resemble a child’s slide, slipping more and more into the depths of unemployment despair.

Hey, but we are not about to leave you with a frown. Here are some links to keep you chugging at a better future.

Or just peek into our repertoire of some gyaan on career options in India.

Lage raho!
Sources:1, 2

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Rakhi Acharyya
About Rakhi Acharyya
Rakhi is a freelance writer, a Physics PhD from Michigan State University, an ex-teacher and a former employee of Corporate America. Follow her on Twitter.

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