India has a big advantage over China in the global labour market, as its young and English-speaking literate workforce is much more relevant on the global level, as per leading human resource consultancy giant Manpower Group.
However, the Indian government and companies need to focus on understanding the skill sets they would need in the future and train the country's young population accordingly to maintain the supply-demand balance of the job market, Manpower Group President (Global Corporate and Government Affairs) David Arkless told PTI in an interview in Davos.
Arkless, who was here to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, maintained that he remains optimistic about the Indian labour market, although the conditions remain volatile and uncertain globally.
"In terms of job market, our views are a little different from the 'Resilient Dynamism' theme of Davos meeting.
"We are telling our customers that only one thing is certain in future and that is the uncertainty. “We know that there is going to be volatility. . . We are telling all our associates that this is the new normal.
It is not going to go back to what it was five years ago," he said.
Asked about the Indian labour market, Arkless said: "India is not a typical emerging market economy. It is a very specific talent market and Indian economy operates totally differently from Chinese or any other emerging market or global growth economy.
"In terms of human capital benefit, India has a highly literate and very driven young people.
"We see that the big benefit for India is that it has a much bigger young, literate English speaking relevant workforce, which is more relevant on the global level, as compared to the Chinese young people for instance. "That's going to be the biggest strength in future for Indian labour market". Arkless, however, rued over the fact that many of the long-running problems remain in India, such as infrastructure building not happening at a fast enough pace. As a result, people are leaving for big cities from rural areas, which is the case for China as well, he added.
"For a general economic and employment point of view, I am worried about that. I wish that we had in India more programmes to help move the economy to a lot of people and give people in rural areas more skills, take more investments to the countryside," Arkless said.
"However, overall I am very optimistic about Indian labour market. India is still producing big numbers of graduates," he said, but added that a majority of them are not appropriately skilled for the growth sectors of the Indian economy.
"There are lots of people who graduate in India and then take up jobs that have nothing to do with their academic subjects.
"There are doctors getting into IT and engineers going into services.
"The politicians and business leaders of the country should understand that India could benefit a lot from a much better forensic forecast of skill requirements in different sectors and different geographies.
"There is a need to synchronise the supply and demand of the labour market. I think India needs to move much faster in being scientific about the workforce," he said.
"The danger is you need to be very competitive at the global level.
"The danger is that some other countries like China and Indonesia are moving ahead in that synchronisation of supply and demand," he added.
Akrless said that these problems were there to some extend in other countries as well.