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The Promise of Technology for Women’s Employment

  • 5 days ago

Technology can potentially meet the diverse needs of different demographic groups of workers, in terms of location, flexibility and hours of work.

According to ILO’s Flagship Report (2021) on the platform sector, there has been a 10-fold increase in the number digital labor platforms over the last decade in the world, with India accounting for 8% of the world’s labor market platforms. This proliferation of digital labor market platforms, including gig work, took-off sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides an opportunity to harness and scale-up technology to improve employment opportunities in India, particularly in the blue-collar sector, but also improve women’s labor force participation by lowering job search costs and providing opportunities for more flexible work.

As discussed in a recent report on the platform market, the potential of this sector for India is high, given its domination by relatively younger workers (below 35 years) and jobs that are responding to the structural shift away from agriculture towards services (for example, delivery, beauty and wellness, BPO, customer care), particularly in India’s burgeoning cities. India represents an ideal ground for increasing the presence of digital labor: it has amongst the youngest populations in the world (68% of population is in the 15-64 category and 25% are less than 15 years of age, with the demographic dividend expected to peak in 2041); we see rapid growth in smartphone usage (projected to reach one billion users by 2026); and increasing urbanization (India’s urban population is estimated to stand at 675 million in 2035, the second highest behind China’s one billion).

The nature of these digital platforms is varied – from those that purely match job seekers with employers for short- or long-term work contracts, to self-employment and gig work on the platform itself. The former ease job search across regions or locally (or hyper-locally, in the case of Apna and Qjobs), while the latter provide employment including delivery and transport (for example, Uber, Urban Company). This technology can, therefore, potentially meet the diverse needs of different demographic groups of workers, in terms of location, flexibility and hours of work.

Continue reading: https://thewire.in/labour/the-promise-of-technology-for-womens-employment

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