Engineers, physicians, other white-collar employees bear biggest brunt of job loss amid lockdown

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September 17, 2020 11:56 AM

The employment of white-collar workers fell sharply to 12.2 million during May-August 2020, which is the lowest employment of these professionals since 2016.

salaried jobs, white collar obs, jobs at lockdown, job lossThe lockdown did not impact white-collar clerical employees. (Bloomberg image)

White-collar salaried employees such as engineers, physicians, teachers, accountants, and analysts, faced the hardest hit from large scale job losses during the lockdown months. Employment of these professionally qualified white-collar workers fell sharply to 12.2 million during the wave of May-August 2020, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. This is the lowest employment of these professionals since 2016 and all the gains made in their employment over the past four years were washed away during the lockdown. During the wave of May-August 2019, the employment of white-collar professional employees peaked at 18.8 million, which remained above 18 million until April.

However, the lockdown did not impact white-collar clerical employees such as desk-work employees ranging from secretaries and office clerks to BPO/KPO workers, and data-entry operators, CMIE added. The report raises the possibility that the white-collar clerical employees shifted their work to the Work-from-Home mode. In an interesting chain of events, this category of workers has not seen any growth since 2016, in fact, it has slid quite sharply since 2018 from about 15 million to less than 12 million by 2020. However, it did not slide any further during the lockdown.

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The employment among the white-collar professional employees was down by 6.6 million. This was the biggest on-year loss among all salaried employees. Besides the white-collar jobs, the lockdown has hit the industrial workers’ job on a large scale too. By a similar y-o-on-year comparison, nearly 5 million industrial workers lost their jobs. This reflects a 26 per cent fall in employment among industrial workers over a year.

Meanwhile, the month of April saw a humungous job loss of 121 million. Also, the decline in employment of industrial workers is likely to be largely in the smaller industrial units, reflecting the distress in the medium, small and micro industrial units in recent times. 

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