Low-quality employment has a cascading effect on  skills,  career, income, and output
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Low-quality employment has a cascading effect on  skills,  career, income, and output

Karma Global is in the business of establishment and vendor compliance management.  It has hundreds of elite clients on its service dispensing list.  The expert staff on its roll deals with thousands of regulatory compliance acts on a Pan India basis,  some of the acts being state-specific while others are enacted by the Central Government

Policies, Governance, Employment, and just compensation are all inter-connected.  There cannot be high or low in each other.  All are supposed to progressively make headway in the right direction and if done, then only it is said that the quality of work employment is of equal order.  In the case of property in determining just compensation, the cost of acquisition of the land, the current value of the like properties, its nature, actual use and income, the sworn valuation by the owner, the tax declarations, and the assessment made by government assessors are given fullest consideration.  Why not in the case of quality of employment,  the same consideration totally lacking in this instance?  One gets to see several imbalances in the constituents leading to quality employment.  

Let us examine closely the different parameters that lead to malnourishment in skills, career, salary, growth, effort, and reward, which are internal to an Organization, and later on, let us also look at constituents that are external to an Organization as far as developing of overall qualitative employment is concerned.


The imbalance between effort and reward

In a perfect and fair world, the more effort you put into a job role, the more you will get out of it. That doesn’t necessarily mean receiving a higher salary ‒ it could also mean more freedom in your job, better benefits, a higher title, and so on. However, when you find that you are working harder and not reaping more rewards, it can be difficult to stay motivated and keep moving forward, and ultimately,  your mindset changes which makes one feel that there is no quality in the employment.

Low pay rate

Being underpaid for the work that you do is an indicator that your position is low-quality work. As the researchers note, there has been a long period of weak pay growth in some global countries. In simple terms, that means that many professionals are getting paid less than they should for their roles, regardless of their skill level.  This is yet another factor where the mind gets consumed into an atmosphere of feeling very low on the quality of employment aspect.


What happens when you do not get enough hours at work? If you work in shifts or have a zero-hour contract, you may find that you are underemployed. When you work on an hourly rate, changes to the number of hours you’re contracted or a cap on your shifts can lead to financial problems.   Currently, there are millions of people all over the world, who are currently underemployed in this way.

Low job security

Certain types of contracts, such as zero-hour contracts and flexible contracts, also offer workers a low level of job security. Since these workers are not full-time staff members, they have fewer rights than other team members, and the chance that they will lose their roles may be higher.  It doesn’t end there. Self-employed individuals that work with large businesses, such as delivery drivers, get no employment rights, despite having to work regular shift patterns.


The ILO published a document somewhere in February 2019 that poor quality employment is a major challenge.  

A majority of the 3.3 billion people employed globally in 2018 experienced a lack of material well-being, economic security, equal opportunities, or scope for human development, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has found.

In its latest  “World Employment and Social Outlook” report released subsequently in the same year,   the ILO pointed out that being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living.  “Many workers find themselves having to take up unattractive jobs that tend to be informal and are characterized by low pay and little or no access to social protection and rights at work.”Indeed, many workers find themselves having to take up vulnerable jobs, especially in the informal economy, which are typically associated with low pay and little or no access to social protection and rights at work.

In fact, 85 percent of own-account workers operate in the informal economy.

The ILO also found that just over half (52 percent) of global workers are wage and salaried employees. This type of employment is often associated with better working conditions and greater income security, though that is not necessarily true in many parts of the world, as evidenced by the fact that 40 percent of such jobs are informal.

On a positive note, said ILO, the incidence of working poverty has decreased greatly over the past three decades, especially in middle-income countries.

In low-income countries, however, the pace of poverty reduction is not expected to keep up with employment growth, so the actual number of working poor in these countries is projected to rise.


Low-quality employment has a cascading effect – Coming closer home to India,  Indian Express published a  report titled “Impact Assessment Study of the Labour Reforms”  and, it analyzed labour reforms conducted in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh during the period 2004-05 to 2018-19.

Status of employment:

  • 1980 to 1990: Every 1% of GDP growth generated roughly two lakh new jobs
  • 1990 to 2000:Every 1% of GDP growth generated roughly one lakh jobs.

The trend in labour reform:

  • Pre-2014 Reforms: The government focused on improving labour administration by simplifying procedures and digitization.
  • Post-2014 Reforms: Focus on reforming the content of the laws e.g. New labour codes.

Since labour is a ‘Concurrent’ list subject, we look at the performance of states on these labour reforms:

  • Little success: The labour reforms undertaken so far had little effect on increasing employment in large enterprises in India.
  • The reforms failed to serve the primary purpose of labour laws like to protect workers, not promote the interests of investors.
  • Employment in formal enterprises is becoming more informal.
  • Increasing contractualization: Large investors are employing increasing numbers of people on short-term contracts, while perversely demanding more flexibility in-laws.
  • Rajasthan, the first state to implement the reforms, seems to have benefitted the least from them.


Low-quality employment has a cascading effect – Conclusion:

More GDP does not automatically produce more incomes at the bottom. India needs to focus on the creation of jobs, labour policies must focus on the generation of better-quality livelihoods for Indian citizens or all citizens’ ease of earning better livelihoods and with more dignity.

India’s gravest socio-economic problem is  faced with the challenges of giving a vast majority of citizens the benefit of earning good livelihoods.   The confronting challenges are not just employment. It is the poor quality conditions, insufficient and uncertain levels of remuneration that is given to people employed in different parts of the cities and towns.

The new feel-good factors aimed toward increasing employment by improving the ease of doing business, with the expectation that investments in businesses will improve citizens’ ease of earning good livelihoods, is a fantastic trend from the Government.  The drastic changes will enable large and formal enterprises to create good jobs, thereby making labour laws  “flexible” to attract investments.  There are a lot of critics who say that laws protect labour too much.  The earlier government’s idea was to improve administration by simplifying procedures and digitization. Those improvements were appreciated by employers as well as workers. However, it totally lacked the friendliness to make the reforms more appealing to the masses  Therefore, the new government became wiser in 2014 and moved to reform the content of the laws with ease and friendliness. 

The Economic Times sometime in 2021 carried a report: Labour laws are one of the most complex and hotly debated issues in India. A labour surplus economy, such as India, should be protective of its workers but laws solely guided by this principle make it difficult for businesses to operate. This hinders the expansion of the business causing limited employment opportunities, effectively making both parties, i.e. employer and employee worse off. In India, labour is a subject of the concurrent list and hence has both central and state-governed laws. The earlier labour laws were archaic and in need of serious updates that the new labour legislation by the Centre has provided.

Low-quality employment has a cascading effect – Centre for Labour Market Studies

The research activities at the V. V. Giri National Labour Institute are carried out under the aegis of different research centers. The Centre for Labour Market Studies, one of such research centers, is committed to undertaking research analyzing the ongoing transformations in the labour market. The research activities aim at providing policy directions for improving the labour market outcomes. The current research activities of the Centre focus on the following core areas:

  • Employment and Unemployment
  • Migration and Development
  • Skill Development
  • Informal Sector and Decent Work


Low-quality employment has a cascading effect  – Contribution from Karma Global Tech Management LLC

Karma Global has a staff strength of over 200 people, direct and indirect, and the expertise that it holds in practicing labour laws is immense.  Karma Global has been receiving a lot of requests from officials to give inputs in shaping and giving its recommendations to the formation and implementation of the labour codes from its knowledgeable reservoir which it has done and already contributed and the process is going on. 

Karma Global is hopeful that a time will come in the future when there will be a perfect balance between Policies, Governance, Employment, and compensation which will lead to a higher quality of employment for all the citizens of this beloved country.

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