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India – Flexible workforce to grow rapidly

11 October 2012

The Indian staffing industry is expected to grow rapidly with the country’s flexible workforce to increase from 1.3 million to 9 million by 2025, a new report by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) shows. Flexible workers would therefore make up 10% of the organised labour force in the country by 2025.

The report has found that sectors such as retail, telecom, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, hospitality and agriculture have increased their numbers of part-time staff increasingly in the past years. The majority (82%) of flexible workers are aged under 30 while 27% work in this industry due to a lack of job opportunities in the “formal” sector. The survey also found that flexi workers take home on average a salary of Rs 10,000 a month approximately €147).

Although India has one of the largest flexible workforces in the world, the report highlighted that laws are needed to regulate the staffing industry in the country.

“The survey has also brought to light that due to lack of regulation specific to this industry, there is a huge prevalence of unorganised players who are playing outside the ambit of labour laws,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, ISF vice president.

“Hence the time has come to take proactive steps to regulate the flexible staffing industry, as a first step India should seriously consider ratification of ILO Convention 181. This single move can provide higher security and protection to the Indian flexi worker.”

The ILO convention recognises the “role private employment agencies may play in a well-functioning labour market.”

ISF has made some recommendation to improve the staffing industry, saying staffing companies should be officially registered and should have joint responsibility with staffing buyers to protect workers’ interest. It also said that staffing firms should have a minimum capital of Rs 1 crore (approximately €147,000), and gain legal recognition.

“I am hopeful that this report and its findings will enable healthy industrial relations and well-being of the temporary staffing workforce in India,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister for Labor & Employment. 

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