2020 has been an exhausting year: in terms of mental and physical health. Moreover, 140 million people lost their employment, and another astounding 45% reported that their income had been reduced when compared to the past year. The middle and lower class of the country was especially affected as lockdowns upon lockdowns were imposed. Offices, businesses and labor jobs were shut down—the country came to an unprecedented halt and the people suffered.
The Lockdown and India’s Recession
Initially the lockdown was imposed for 21 days and without prior notice. This set the country in panic, laborers started rushing towards their hometowns: on foot that is and exhausted whatever meagre savings they had collected over the years. Even people with corporate jobs had a hard time managing their savings and continuing to live with a decent lifestyle—unforeseeable expenses like masks and sanitizers on top of food expenses and house rents: this left the country in despair and on the verge of destruction. The pandemic induced a recession: perhaps the worst since India’s independence. The growth rate fell 10% from 4.2 to an absolute negative.
Amidst the middle class a large percentage of people unemployed were women. A study by CMIE shows that women account for 10.7% of the workforce and even then they accounted for 13.9% of the unemployment rate. It was also seen that, while by November most men were back to working again, women had a difficult time finding jobs. Therefore the labor class and women were the worst affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
2021: The Recovery
After two months of a nation-wide curfew in India, companies and offices had started working again at 33% capacity according to government guidelines. The last quarter, on the other hand, has shown an upward trend in job postings and recruitments, there is a massive disparity, however, it is evident that India is well on its way to achieving pre-COVID employment rates.
As India struggles to tackle the second wave of the pandemic, it is expected that the numbers will suffer as well. However, the country has now come to terms with working for home and arrangements have been made to make the process smooth for both the workers and the businesses. Companies are now following a hybrid model and will continue to do so for the next few months. As working from home becomes the new normal: India witnessed an increase of 4% in terms of job postings. However, as freshers stepping into the market it is important to know that while some sectors are flourishing others are suffering. It is important to distinguish between the two and not to despair. As Ajay Bhushan Pandey, the Financial Secretary stated earlier, “The Indian economy could revive sooner than we expect.” With time, things will go back to normal and the market is expected to boom at a much higher rate.
Industries that have witnessed growth in the past year are courier, transport and packaging. Companies providing office supplies have also witnessed a growth: perhaps due to the transition of working from offices to working from homes. Agriculture and Telecom companies are also massively contributing to the growth of economy. IT industries are always available with job opportunities, this is because it is an ever-growing sector, moreover, it is easy to continue working remotely—therefore IT and hardware industries are also witnessing growth in employment. Bangalore, Pune and Hyderabad are some of the cities that are good places to start.
Travel and Tourism has of course taken a turn for the worse, with the decline of the pandemic the market is expected to raise tremendously, however right now they have witnessed a downfall of 59%. The education sector and petroleum sector has also been impacted negatively.
Another trend that has been noted is that while job postings have increased tremendously a majority of these are for senior-level jobs. There are fewer jobs for fresh graduates at the moment. While the present may seem a bit daunting and dark at the moment, the outlook for the future, majorly, remains positive. Despite job losses and financial insecurity caused by the pandemic 95% of the working population say that they are optimistic about the next five years at work.
Although it may seem that India is the worst hit with joblessness, the pandemic has caused unemployment to become a global issue, however, as the country settles into this new normal the country is set on its path to recovery.