Majority of workers in India are still without any social security coverage and informal employees are prioritising factors such as prestige and career potential over wages today, says a Quess Corp report.
The report by leading business service provider Quess Corp titled New Collar Generation Report’ uncovers the aspirations of India’s informal economy post-pandemic.
As per the report, 97 per cent of those informally employed agree that they have a better chance of improving their lifestyle and that of their families with a formal job as opposed to one without a contract.
The report is based on interviews with 4,179 respondents of all ages across seven metros: Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune, and seven non-metros: Ahmedabad, Baroda, Coimbatore, Indore, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Nashik conducted between September 2022 and January 2023.
According to the survey, 80 per cent of the informal employees expect their employers to provide them with the security of ESI and other medical benefits; the expectation of ESI is even higher for the younger, informal employees.
Furthermore, 79 per cent of respondents claim they would compromise on 20 per cent or more of their salary if it provided security and benefits equivalent to their formal counterparts.
“The ?ndings of our study offer a clear direction to policymakers on the desires of the informal workforce. With high aspirations regarding skilling, social security, and healthcare benefits, India’s informal economy is as aspirational to bene?t from EPFO, ESIC, and other social security bene?ts as their formal counterparts.
“Our current laws enable coverage of such social security bene?ts only for organizations that have above 10 or 20 employees. This leaves behind a huge class of citizens that are not bene?tted by these laws,” said Lohit Bhatia, President of Workforce Management, Quess Corp.
He further said, “Recent efforts by several states to implement social security programmes, such as life insurance and healthcare coverage, for gig workers in the informal economy are commendable steps in the right direction.
“However, it is crucial to recognise that there is still a long way to go and we must all continue to make efforts to create an inclusive and secure environment for all Indian workers.”
While both genders are looking beyond wage rates when assessing professional opportunities, the priorities of women working in the informal sector are skewed towards health and security, while for men, it’s more inclined toward career building.
The report found that 63 per cent of women claim that they would be ‘very likely’ to compromise on a higher salary in lieu of health benefits and a formal agreement, compared to only 28 per cent of men.