Context: Automation, digital labour and gig workers will increase in the manufacturing sector, while 10-20% of existing jobs in labour-intensive sectors will face cuts due to the changing post-covid business environment, said a report by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

An assessment of post Covid-19 India:

  • Job loss: While 10-15% of automobile and allied sector jobs may be lost, 15-20% workers in textiles and apparel may be gone. However, new jobs will open up to accommodate 5-10% of workers.
  • New skills needed: By 2022, at least 50% of the workers will be in jobs with radically-changed skill sets in the auto sector and up to 40% in textiles and apparel.
    • Five new skill sets will be in huge demand in the post-covid-19 world, which include 
  1. Data literacy
  2. Making sense of data and in-depth understanding of business trends and shifting customer needs, 
  3. Creativity and innovation, 
  4. Digital marketing for continuation of businesses, 
  5. Critical thinking to determine what is credible and big data to make businesses more resilient to future pandemics
  • New kinds of jobs: Apparel data scientists, environment specialists and IT process engineers, among others, will be the new job categories in textiles.
    • Demand for automobile analytics engineers, machine learning-based vehicle cybersecurity experts, 3D printing technicians and sustainability integration experts will rise.
  • Adoption of new technologies: Shortage of shop floor manpower due to covid-19 impact on migrant labourers, will fast track companies to integrate Internet of Things, Robotics etc. to adapt to the new normal.

Challenges for manufacturing sector:

  • Social distancing norms: Labour-intensive manufacturing sectors depend on a large workforce on the shop- floor for operations. But social distancing norms will require a different approach to resume activities. 
  • Need for skill upgradation: Emerging new business models and swift shift towards producing healthcare and medical equipment would also require workers to be re-skilled and up-skilled.

In a labour-surplus country like India, such a shift, if it becomes a reality, will have a huge negative impact on the labour market that is struggling due to inadequate employment generation, higher informal jobs and lack of decent work.

Image Source: Economic Times