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Demand For Women Apprentices Rises 6x

March 22, 2024 17:01 IST

Apprentices get at an average of Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per month which can double after one year of on-the-job training.

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.
Women work in an office in New Delhi. Photograph: Mansi Thapliyal/Reuters

Recruitment and human resources services TeamLease has seen a five to six-fold increase in the requirement for women apprentices month-on-month when compared prior to July last year, especially in the automotive and electronics manufacturing sectors, which is helping to correct the skew towards men in machine-based assembly line operations.

Talking about the dramatic change, Sumit Kumar, chief strategy officer at TeamLease, says: "Apprentice intake by companies, especially in auto and electronics, has reached optimum levels.

"Prior to July last year, we had a requirement for 1,000-2,000 women apprentices from companies. Today it is as high as 10,000 to 12,000 a month.

"As a result, the share of women apprentices in our recruitment, which was only 10-15 per cent earlier, has now become 45 per cent to 50 per cent.

"What we see is that companies in electronics and auto have become completely gender agnostic in their recruitment for assembly line workers.

"They are also looking at bringing rural women to the fore."

Earlier, manufacturing companies would look for candidates from Industrial Training Institutes for assembly line operations, but there were few women among them.

Kumar says that now companies are recruiting women who have passed out of school or have done a one-year diploma course and then training them on the job.

While the trend of recruiting women for the shop floor is most visible in electronics and auto industries, it is also spreading to pharmaceuticals, food processing and medical devices.

Kumar says that by next year they expect more apprentice jobs to be created for women in the semiconductor space as projects begin to start operations.

"Today many of our clients in the auto and electronics are telling us that they would like to have an assembly line with an 80:20 ratio between women and men. That is the change," says Kumar.

He points out, moreover, that earlier the focus for apprentice recruitment by industry was mostly in the services sector -- hotels, restaurants, retail, healthcare, and so on.

But increasingly, the share of apprentices in manufacturing is going up.

"There are about 0.17 million women apprentices currently in the market. Out of this, 40 per cent are in manufacturing and the rest are still in the services sector. Earlier, only 10-15 per cent of them were in manufacturing," Kumar says.

Besides, says Kumar, there is parity in wages between men and women in the manufacturing sector.

Apprentices get at an average of Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per month which can double after one year of on-the-job training, with the cash portion going up by as much as 40 per cent (the rest are bonus, provident fund, health benefits, etc).

"Companies have realised that once trained, the women can be poached by competitors who are also looking for talent. So a policy of varying wages between the sexes will only lead to the exodus of women.

"There is already a turnover of about 10 per cent among women employees," he says.

However, the entry of women in assembly lines could remain restricted in heavy industries like steel.

Even in the automobile sector, women are considered more suitable for two-wheelers where the size of the components and parts one has to carry are smaller and lighter.

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Surajeet Das Gupta
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