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May 16, 2022

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Blue-collar jobs or unorganized labor? When will we solve the challenges of the blue-collar job sector?

Decade old Blue-collar companies in India have not improved the situation for workers in India.

Yesteryear teenagers worked part-time jobs in factories or warehouses to earn pocket money and were never looked down upon when they chose to make it a full-time career. People built stable lives for themselves by working a job in the blue-collar industry. Today, with the boom in technology, people living in urban development are utilizing it to stay away from this industry and rather prefer to earn money while being in physical comfort.
But has the technological boom penetrated the deepest layer of our country’s complex socio-economic strata? Have the blue-collar job portals utilized this technology in a way that reaches its 300 Million+ job seekers, being in the game for so long? Let us see this below.

Complexities of the Blue-collar industry
As a job seeker, you’re supposed to know how to find a job and apply for it, which portals to use and the multi-channel approaches you can use to get a job. Let’s say you find a suitable job opening in another state but it’s written in a language you do not understand. What do you do? You Google translate and move on to give an interview. Problem solved, right?

Not really.

Job seekers in the blue-collar industry are not yet aware of step 1.
We can most definitely observe the effects of technological penetration into this economic stratum but still, most of them do not know how to utilize this for their professional growth and language remains a huge barrier for migrant job seekers. Current job portals for blue-collar jobs have failed to identify that job seekers of the blue-collar industry cannot yet utilize technology to its full potential. Unlike the corporate workforce. There is an urgent need to utilize a comprehensive multi-service approach to employ people or to use mediums that make people from this stratum employable.

Socio-Economic problems marring industry growth
Most job seekers in this industry do not understand the importance of maintaining formal documents. This is mostly because they find work on word of mouth basis, locally. Familiarity amongst people helps them secure a job without legal documents and procedures.

Problems arise for migrant workers looking for jobs in bigger cities. An Economic Times report stated that 50% of blue-collar job seekers provide inaccurate details in their job applications! This leads to employers having to trust their employee’s word and take a risk. Lack of innovation by job portals to reach this stratum not only harms the job seekers but the employer too! It has become an arduous task to verify information since people come from various regions, converse in different languages and do not know technology. Unfriendly working conditions also add on to ensure that workers either take a risk and leave the job to restart the complex cycle of job search or stay in the job to risk humiliation and/or frequent pay cuts. Both of which are rampantly taking place in the unorganized job sector.

A lack of empowerment and encouragement for women to join the workforce and extend a helping hand to family economics is also a major factor as to why this sector is not growing and gaining good reputation amongst job seekers.

By now it may seem that employment is a solution for employers to solve, but that would be reading just one side of the story. It gets more interesting now.

Challenges to Employers in the Blue-collar job sector
The blue-collar sector is unorganized and has made working conditions very risky. Not just for employees, who risk losing their jobs if their managers wish, but for the employers too, who may not have sufficient resources to find new employees if the current ones leave.
What will they do? Post on LinkedIn with relevant hashtags and ask for CVs to conduct interviews?

Working under no formal agreements always runs a risk for both parties and the Government of India has also realized this. The Ministry of Labour and Employment introduced The National Database of Unorganized Workers. In the Economic survey of 2019, it was revealed that almost 93% of workers in India are unorganized, raising some big questions about the credibility and efficiency of blue-collar Job portals in India, of which some have been working in this space for more than a decade. Unorganised sectors not only risks job-seekers employment but also makes finding employees a herculean task.  

And even if employers take into account all the problems and genuinely try to solve them, we are talking about 300Million job seekers who would also be required to help in solving this problem.

Our take on this problem.
The situation does not look very promising, as of now. Reach of job portals remains an issue GoodWorker is tirelessly working on, and as it has been seen previously, blue-collar job seekers do not have the required understanding to be able to use technology to their benefit! There are a lot of opportunities for job seekers to seize in the market, and utilizing better mediums of skill transfer will definitely prove to be a game-changer!
Although we are a very recent initiative when compared to most job portals in this sector, we are working towards improving how job seekers access jobs and ensuring they are not taken undue advantage of.

India is the World’s largest smartphone user base, with most of them being able to use WhatsApp, Instagram, and YouTube. Little training and knowledge transfer using relevant well researched mediums would help job seekers become job-ready. Reduced cost of training equipment- mobile phones, in this case, would increase the scope to educate people from the informal sector and for employers to manage their workforce effectively.