Why are Majority of Women in India's Informal Economy compromising on Salaries for Health Benefits?

Why are Majority of Women in India's Informal Economy compromising on Salaries for Health Benefits?

By: WE Staff

The Quess Corp, which is one of India's leading business providers stated a significant finding from an ongoing study, highlighting the rising significance of women's representation in the workforce. According to the survey, more than half of the female employees who are informal workers which is 56 percent, give priority to non-financial factors like advancing their careers, contribution of their earnings to the community, urge to learn new skills, and pursuing their interests and passions. This also reflects the growing aspirational shift in women's perspectives in the informal workforce, which are now more focused on their careers rather than just limiting themselves to their livelihood.

In today's modern era where everyone needs security for health, job, study, etc. It is evident that female employees have also prioritized their job security, training, and career development goals by becoming more independent, even if they keep these goals above their salary amounts. In fact, women have higher aspirations (18 percent) than men (13 percent) in terms of building a good career via a job, from the perspective of an informal employee. In India, achieving female workforce participation has been difficult, particularly during the pandemic of Covid-19, when women had to prioritize domestic duties that were primarily regulated by social conventions over earning a living. Today, it appears that women in society are working more informally and are ready to recover and have high aspirations for their careers, along with a desire for benefits such as job security. In addition to this, according to the industry reports like FSG, 83 percent of urban Indian women of working age come from low-income households and 88 percent of women have thought that it is possible to work outside the home after giving birth to a child, and 52 percent of women believe that mother of young children under the age of six can work outside of their home and comfort zones.

The Quess Staffing Solutions mentioned that the sectors with the highest percentage of women working belong to the media and entertainment industry which covers 46 percent of the share, Auto and Auto Communications covers 42 percent share, FMGC/FMCD has 27 percent share, e-commerce/logistics has 27 percent share and the IT/ITES/Education has 22 percent share. Additionally, salary trends show that workers who belong to important sectors like retail, FMCG, EMPI, manufacturing, and real estate make more money than their male counterparts. According to contract hiring trends, many women work as Executives, Junior Relationship Officers, Product Consultants, Trainees, CCAs, and Sales Associates, among other positions. Over 88,000 women have been enrolled by Quess, one of the largest private employers in India, in the formal economy.

The President of Workforce Management at Quess Corp Limited, Lohit Bhatia said that the work environment for women is changing. About 53 percent of women in the informal economy feel that they need a friend or a contact inside the company to acquire a formal contract, and one in three, 33 percent of females said that their lack of education is the reason why they find difficulties to find formal and permanent employment. He further added that we must recognize the importance of women in India's both informal and formal sectors of the economy, while simultaneously recognizing that their requirements have now evolved. For women to be more employable, India Inc. must invest in training and skill development initiatives and help them to find out job possibilities, also provide them with social security benefits to employees rather than just paying salaries.

The pandemic had a severe effect on Indian healthcare which deteriorated people's health in a wide number. The study finds that 63 percent of women from the informal economy as compared to 28 percent of men said that they would compromise on higher salaries instead of health benefits and a formal agreement. In addition to that, according to 38 percent of female informal workers, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought attention to the value of job security. With 16 percent of female informal workers giving a clear indication of health and protection as the main benefit of formal employment, it is also evident that women's safety and security are becoming higher priorities.

The highest female employment rate in India is in Karnataka which is 25 percent, which may be registered on several government-led initiatives which promote women's employment and empowerment. Initiatives like the Karnataka Kayaka Yojana loan program and the 'Women@Work' program are developed by the Karnataka Digital Economy Mission (KDEM). A notable portion of women are employed in Telangana which is 25 percent, 23 percent of women are employed in Tamil Nadu and 22 percent are placed in Maharashtra. It is essential to provide a safe working atmosphere and proper skill development training to women for an equitable employment culture.