Economists predict that India’s workforce will exceed 900 million by 2020, edging ahead of China as the largest workforce economy. What isn’t often addressed is the disparity between the working age population and the active workforce, which suggests that despite some saturation in IT outsourcing, India’s workforce remains underutilized to this day.
Of those workers actively participating in the labor force, a large percentage is male, creating opportunities to increase female workforce participation. This is a critical factor when considering that half the population is below the age of 25 and, if not already working, will soon be entering the workforce. Some employers have begun to develop specific strategies to cultivate the right skills at optimal cost, based on a five-year growth plan targeting this subset of the workforce.
Hiring strategies here continue to evolve as employers seek to leverage higher female participation along with targeted initiatives for emerging and migrant workers. For instance, at the regional level, feminine benefits are being considered as an added hiring incentive. In fact, menstrual leave is already part of the leave policy in markets like Japan, Indonesia, Italy and South Korea, and India is expanding on these local best practices and concepts. Whether it will be widely adopted in India remains to be seen, however some start-ups hope that by becoming more sensitive to the needs of women they can attract the best talent and encourage the highest potential productivity.