COVID-19 and the employment issues

When it all started in November 2019 in ‘China’, then no one could have predicted that the Corona Virus ( COVID-19) might cause a global economy’s worst ever slowdown. If IMF (International Monetary fund) is to be believed then, this Pandemic “COVID-19” will cause downturn of economy and the impact will last till 2021 or even more for few countries. If economy goes down then the first thing any salaried person can be worried of is his Job. The employment issues are expected to rise because of this COVID-19.  

The American government reported 5.2 million more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the four-week total to 22 million, easily the worst stretch of U.S. job losses on record. In India, the unemployment rate was 7.8% in Jan’2020 and this is seeing a spike during lock-down period. India is under complete lock-down officially since 25th March, but the negative impact on Business started since the first week of March. Other countries especially European, are under tremendous pressure for business and job loss.

In India, there are more than 5500 MNC companies in the Private Sector organisations, which employ millions of employees. These MNCs are having negative exposure Global condition. Also many Indian IT giants like TCS, Wipro, HCL etc. are having their market in European and American nations; they too are exposed to the losses directly. Other local private sector organisations are actually panicking more, but this is also truth that the cash flow in the market is interdependent.

For better understanding of the “Employment Issues” across the sectors let us see in parts.

  • Large-Scale Organisations:  The Large Scale organisation includes most of the MNCs (Multi-National Companies), have their market across the globe. They may have certain countries as their prime market, but at the time when this pandemic COVID-19 is a global crisis, their markets are badly impacted. Their projects are now delayed and so the related processes. But such big companies have some breathing period and they know that they have to retain talent. They are watching market and expecting it to be normal soon, and if it will happen like that, then the employees are safe. But if it will take longer than expected time, then they will be forced to cut down the cost. They may ask employee to go on unpaid leaves for few months. Uncritical employees will be asked to put their paper. And if the organisation wasn’t in profit since last few years then situation can turn pathetic. But, still this sector has some safer zone. It follows a statement “if ship will sink then everyone will be drowned, only a few lucky will be surviving.” So you can breathe till the ship (Organisation} will sink. Please note, sinking of ship is not easy, it requires worst conditions, and this is unlikely to happen. Pay-cut is another possibility to be followed.

  • Mid-Scale Private Organisations: Such organisations purely run on the employee’s loyalty.  They don’t have huge numbers of employees and also they don’t have highly paid ones. Only 10-20% of employees can be marked uncritical, and being in such small numbers, they don’t get immediate attention. Employees of such organisations are much safe. However they can see some pay cut or delayed salaries, but it is unlikely to see layoff.
  • Small-Scale Private Organisations: Most of the traders, small businessman, small contractors etc. comes under this category. They get panicked without of much reason. Even if it is just a month of lock-down, they have started firing of employee. Actually, most of the businesses are Owner driven. So laying off the employees doesn’t give future revenue hit. They just see momentary profit and loss. Highly unsafe zone for the employees.
  • Manufacturing Sector: During lock-down only essential services are operational and majority of employee are sitting idle at home. This sector employs many contractual employees and their job is always at risk. For non-contractual (permanent) employees situation is moderately better. Again it depends size of the organisation and it’s capacity to stay strong in the tough time. Finding a skilled manpower is always a tough job and in manufacturing sector it is even tougher. So it is moderately safer zone for the permanent employees. For contractual employees, it all depends on the organisations mind-set.
  • Autonomous Organisation (Government): There was a time when Government job was immune to market conditions, but with changed leadership of the country, it is no more immune. But, yes, the risk of losing job is very less. If situation turns pathetic then they may be asked for salary cut. Still a much safer place to be in such situation.
  • Government Organisations: The condition will not be much different than the Autonomous organisations but, in state and central government organisations, vacant positions are a big worry. If situation doesn’t improve then hiring may be delayed and the candidates will be suffering from this. It may also happen to put the positions on hold or defer the exam/interview dates for more than 6 months. This will just increase employment woes for the country.

This is indeed a tough time which country has never seen before, but if we see thing for India then our condition is slightly better than many nations. Even IMF has forecasted GDP growth rate for 2021 is likely to be 7.8% which is just less than China. Also for year the growth is positive (1.9%). Our economy is robust and we shall bounce back strongly. This gives a strong hope that the employment issues will not increase beyond the control.

Also there are many employees, those are panicking and looking for other job in fear of job loss. But, this is really not a right time to go for job search.  It is time to stay calm, to learn new things, to develop new skills. The market will regain its position. We have seen this in Year 2008. Yes, it will take some time and that needs patience.

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