They are looking for white-collar jobs, and in industries that are in the forefront of growth.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has asked for reservations in the private sector, kicking off a debate on the aspirations of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes in the employment market.
The data collected from naukri.com, the largest site for jobs in the country, shows that as many as 9 million registered job seekers, constituting more than 16 per cent of the 55 million users, are from these three categories.
And the number could be even higher as the site has made this declaration voluntary for their users.
As the site offers jobs predominantly in the private sector, it clearly reflects that these categories are seeking jobs in the private sector on their own, irrespective of whether the government pushes for reservations or not.
And they are in most cases competing with general candidates.
Naukri.com started collecting the data voluntarily from 2006 and a year later there were 180,000 registered users in these categories out of 10 million job seekers.
In the past 10 years, the number of job seekers in these categories has swelled.
Not only that, their aspirations are also changing. They are looking for white-collar jobs, and in industries that are in the forefront of growth.
This shows up in the fact that 31 per cent of the registered users are looking for jobs in IT (information technology) and software, finance and accounting, BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance), engineering, and construction.
And as much as 13 per cent of the users are interested in jobs in the IT and software sector.
The bulk of the job seekers in these categories have very limited experience.
Fifty-one per cent have just a year’s experience or none. Only 6 per cent have more than 10 years’ experience.
This means that a large part of the jobs in the private sector has to come at entry levels.
There is also a bias in the geographical distribution of the job seekers. For instance, 44 per cent of them are from south India, followed by the west, north, and east.
The number of job seekers in these categories from the east is only 7 per cent.
However, there is no updated data on the number hired in the private sector on merit or through “affirmative action”.
A study by the Confederation of Indian Industry in 2011 brings out some trends.
It points out that a survey of more than 8,250 persons showed Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs constituted 19-20 per cent of them.
Photograph: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters