63% women in the Indian informal economy would compromise on salaries for health security benefits: Quess Corp
Quess Corp, India’s leading business service provider, today revealed a key insight from an ongoing study, signifying the growing importance of women’s representation in the workforce. According to the study that is underway, more than half of informal female employees (56%) prioritize non-monetary aspects such as building a career, contributing to the community, learning new skills, and supporting their passions and interests. This signifies the growing aspirational shift in the mindset of women representatives in the informal workforce, which is now more career- oriented and not just limited to livelihood.
Today, for an increasing proportion of female employees, job security, training and career development are becoming absolute priorities – even beyond the contents of their pay slips. In fact, from an informal employee’s perspective, women’s aspiration to ‘build a career’ via a job (18%) is higher than that of men (13%). Female workforce participation has continued to be a challenge in India, especially during the pandemic when women took a backseat from earning a livelihood due to household responsibilities largely governed by societal norms. Today, it seems that women in the informal economy are ready to bounce back and hold great aspirations to build their careers with a yearning for job security and other benefits. Moreover, industry reports such as that from FSG have found that among working-age urban Indian women, 83% come from households with low income and that today, 88% of women believe one can work outside the house after having a child, and 52% of women believe that mothers with children under the age of six can work outside of the home.
As per Quess Staffing Solutions, industries such as Media & Entertainment (46% share), Auto & Auto Comm (42% share), FMCG/FMCD (27% share), Ecom/Logistics (27% share), IT/ITES/Education (22% share) hold the highest share of women in the workforce. Moreover, salary trends indicate that female employees earn a higher pay than their male counterparts across key industries such as Retail, FMCG, EMPI, Manufacturing, and Real Estate. As per contract hiring trends, a large number of women are employed in roles ranging from Executives, Junior Relationship Officers, Product Consultants, Trainees, CCAs, and Sales Associates. Quess, as one of India’s largest private employers, has enrolled over 88,000 female into the formal economy.
Lohit Bhatia, President, Workforce Management, Quess Corp Limited commented, “The professional landscape facing women is in a state of flux. Today, one in every three women from the informal economy (33%) believe that it is a lack of education that prevents them from securing a formal job, and more than half (53%) believe that they need a friend or a contact inside a company to secure a formal contract. We must acknowledge the value and contribution of women to India’s informal formal economy, while simultaneously acknowledging that their requirements have now evolved. India Inc. must invest in training and skill development for better employability of women, helping them find employment opportunities, and offer social security benefits – as opposed to simply salary considerations – to a wider employable population.”
Considering the impact of the pandemic on Indian healthcare, the study reveals that 63% of women from the informal economy claim that they would compromise on higher salaries in lieu of health benefits and a formal agreement, compared to only 28% of men. Furthermore, 38% of female informal workers believe that the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of job security. There is also a clear indication that health and security are becoming bigger priorities for women with 16% of female informal workers considering health and protection as the principal benefit of formal employment.
Interestingly, Karnataka holds one of the largest female penetration ratios across Quess employment with 25% women, which may be on account of several government initiatives that promote women’s participation in the workforce including the ‘Women@Work’ program developed by Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM), and the Karnataka Kayaka Yojana loan scheme. Maharashtra (22%), Tamil Nadu (23%), and Telangana (25%) also hold a notable share of female associates. The need for the implementation of safe working conditions as well as skill training for women remain crucial for a more equitable distribution of opportunities in the workforce.