How Technology can bridge the Skill-employment divide for blue-collar workers

By Srikanth
6 Min Read
How Technology can bridge the Skill-employment divide for blue-collar workers 1

The term blue-collar worker is often interchanged with unskilled labour, but of course it is just one part of the story, as their work may range from simple garbage disposal to making tactical decisions on the manufacturing floor. Blue-collar workers are undoubtedly the
backbone of industry, be it manufacturing or service.


The present scenario

The number of blue-collar employees in India may vary from anywhere between 30 and 45 crores, according to various sources.
Typically, a blue collar worker will either go to labour chowks or contractors to get access to work. Mostly these jobs are given by small businesses, and they rely on recruitment agencies or contractors. While dealing with either of them, they need to pay heavy
commissions to get a worker, which ranges anywhere between 5-10%. Even workers sometimes have to pay commissions to get these jobs.

The way this traditional system works is somewhat inefficient and more beneficial to mediators rather than the actual participants (workers or businesses). It is time-consuming, involves high costs, and is unstructured. There is no hand holding for workers after placing them in a particular job or when they leave that job.

There are no records maintained (digital or otherwise) by these agencies or companies of work done by these blue-collar workers, which might help these workers in future for new job opportunities. The workers have limited or no flexibility in terms of location or work
timing, and no mentorship or guidance is given to improve their skill level or productivity.

Loopholes in the current system

Even though India is called a demographically rich country, still we have one of the highest unemployment rates.

One reason for this is that there is no proper mechanism to connect supply with demand in Labour ecosystem. Even though we have availability of workers in large numbers, they are scattered unevenly throughout the country, so there may be a state or an area where
the there is too much supply, on the contrary there may be a place which is lacking in this aspect.

Another issue being the skill set of workers is more skewed towards the type of work generally available to them nearby.

The changing paradigm

Since 2020, COVID changed the world in ways more than one could imagine. Business and workers were affected equally. The mass displacement created new levels of demand & supply gaps in all industries. The system of Work From Home was a White Collar Job
phenomenon, with very little place for their less skilled colleagues.

This also created an environment where the workers were reluctant to return to their previous place of employment due to risk of any future lockdowns and no interest to leave their families or homes.

Luckily, by this time the Government’s agenda to digitize the economy and country was coming in full swing and COVID created just the situation to implement it in full scale, which of course promoted a lot of innovative ways the work was happening.

Additionally, the Government’s Push to revitalize the economy through schemes like Atmanirbhar Bharat and PLI (Production Linked Incentive) started creating opportunities at different places throughout the country.

The only missing part of the puzzle is to fill these gaps.

The way ahead

Technology has the potential to drastically change the skill employment gap for India’s workforce. We are on the brink of the fourth Industrial Revolution, which is characterized by convergence of different technologies and cutting across borders of physical and
digital worlds.

Technology has changed a lot of things and made a lot of jobs redundant, but the human element has not been eliminated by any standards. For example, the people making the actual connection between people and services like food delivery, packers and movers etc. are still blue-collar workers. They are the vessel through which the actual delivery of service is happening on the ground, even if technology has changed the rules of the game.

With the introduction of digital hiring based platforms in blue-collar space, the industry is going to witness changes like never before. The biggest benefit of these platforms is going to be the rebalancing of workforce availability throughout the country. The workers
will be able to get employment in places of their choice and convenience.

Industry and businesses will be able to find workers with the appropriate skill sets which are required by them at a very fast speed. These platforms may provide verification and work history of these workers, and maintain transparency and proper wages to workers,
which by and large is a big lacuna in traditional system.

These platforms are promoting on-demand hiring, thereby reducing fixed cost for employers and also giving workers an opportunity to work as per their want.

Digital platforms would also assist businesses by providing them ancillary services like management of attendance, payroll and settlement of workforce at scale etc. thereby ensuring that the focus of management is entirely on business functions and improved productivity.

Contributed by Ankit Jain, Co-founder of AayWorks

Share This Article
Passionate Tech Blogger on Emerging Technologies, which brings revolutionary changes to the People life.., Interested to explore latest Gadgets, Saas Programs