A New look @ Jobs for New India

Security or Flexibility

Job Creation is acknowledged to be one of India’s foremost challenges. Even while we are the fastest growing large economy, the spectre of “jobless growth” haunts all discussions and positive sentiment about India’s GDP trajectory and economic future

A lot of focus of the job creation debate is around the formal, industrial / corporate sector. It is typically believed that “formal jobs” ie. Full time employment in organized firms, is preferable to “informal jobs’ where the job is “project based” or temporary and only based on demand..

This is due in large parts to the fact that formal full time employment typically offers long term benefits and security and predictability. The generation of employees in middle to senior management across most of corporate India today, grew up in pre-liberalisation India of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s – when a safe and secure job upto retirement – was typically the most important life goal.

India has changed. The millennial generation of the 90’s and 2000’s, neither craves security nor needs it, in an era of relative financial security. This generation demands independence, flexibility and a certain impatience with predictable, routine activities

Two important and related characteristics exemplify our consumer life today. The first is the exponential growth of Choice in all spheres (c0mpare the “range” of phones MTNL offered us in the 80’s – to the array of Smartphones today, from the 3 models of cars then, to the 100’s of new models launched every year).

The second is the shortened Life, of any product, service or experience. Consider these – the biggest super-hit movie, runs in the theatre for a few weeks now, and not years as it was even upto the 90’s. The coolest, hippest restaurant does a make-over every few years to survive. Cars are changed every few years, smartphone models are changed with the seasons

In this era, how can Jobs be crafted for a lifetime? Or even for “long service” awards

Businesses have to fundamentally rethink employment and the “careers” they offer – to radically redesign the “employee experience”.

Some jobs have always had an inherent degree of flexibility and ownership built into them. Think accountants, lawyers, architects, designers, doctors. Each of these provide the opportunity for independent work and practice, which is often more lucrative, than working full time in an organization.

Why not create the same opportunity for Independent working or freelancing for other jobs ? – Engineers, Scientists, HR managers, Marketing managers, Sales managers and so on.

This has been most famously coined into the term – the “gig economy” through the phenomenon of freelancing in technology intensive – and location agnostic jobs such as software programming.

The new emerging India, needs organisations to rethink and redefine their Talent model – key roles which need full time employment & long term tenure – and others which need specialized skills for short durations.

The job creation debate at a national level also needs to shift towards acknowledging the growing role of the “informal jobs” sector in India, and its necessity in addressing the issue of gainful occupation of our population.