Is India’s Blue-Collar Workforce Headed For A Crisis?

Growing technological advancements had already started to alter the nature of the employment market for blue-collar, grey-collar, and white-collar professionals before the terrible epidemic shook the globe. Blue-collar workers were severely harmed by the COVID-19 virus-induced lockdown-induced uncertainty.

An estimated 200 million workers are classified as blue-collar, frontline, feet-on-street workforce in India. With rapidly developing technology, companies prefer automating as many blue-collar jobs as possible, but when it comes to the FMCG, Retail, and general trade blue-collar ecosystem in India and their growing issues, automation is just the tip of the iceberg. The troubles Indian blue-collar employees confront are getting worse for a variety of reasons, including lack of literacy and skills, the disorganized character of the sector, and gaps in the procedures created to properly handle their problems. These factors taken together are leading the workforce toward a crisis.

One of the most critical problem that exists even today for the blue-collar staff is the problem of employment uncertainty. Online job boards, forums, and other trustworthy, and simple ways to find and land a job have become popular over the past few years. However, blue-collar employees still significantly rely on traditional techniques for finding work, such as informal connections and middlemen. Local labour contractors and recruiting firms assist labourers in finding work, but often charge high commissions and cannot be relied upon to consistently offer chances for work in a supportive environment.

This lack of stable and supportive working conditions has furthered the already existing problem of high attrition rates among blue-collar workers across industries. While this certainly affects the blue-collared workers, recruiters and organisations are battling with high costs of hiring, training, and retaining as well as delays in the completion of projects resulting in a lesser than favourable balance sheet for both the organization and its employees.

While these two issues have plagued the blue-collar workforce in India, there is much anticipation that this year’s festive season will provide opportunities for the blue-collar workforce, who were otherwise unemployed during the larger part of the pandemic, from the FMCG, CPG retail, and hospitality sectors. While this is a stop-gap arrangement we are of the firm belief that technology and management will reshape the blue-collar workspace in the coming years.

In fact, the strides made in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning are already enabling staffing firms catering to blue-collar recruitment, like 1Sf built by Peel-Works, to digitise and maintain large databases. This has led to a tremendous opportunity for industries that have voluminous and continuous labor requirements, to explore the option of off-roll staffing which helps them cut costs, meet targets, and maintain a favourable financial status. As India’s largest staffing aggregator, 1Sf has fully embraced the digitisation bandwagon through which we have had the privilege of catering to some of India’s biggest FMCG players while adapting to the sector’s complex problems.

Written by:

Alok Dayananda
Manager, Strategic Sourcing & Business Development
1Sf – built by Peel-Works

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