Formal sector employment in India increased by 0.45 million during the three months ended December 2021, shows a survey by the labour ministry. The nine sectors covered in the survey employed 31.45 million workers during the quarter under review, compared with 31 million in the September quarter and 30.8 million in the June quarter, according to the third round of Quarterly Employment Survey.

The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES), a part of the All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey (AQEES) undertaken by the Labour Bureau on behalf of Ministry of Labour and Employment, looks at employment figures across manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurants, IT/BPOs, and financial services. These nine sectors account for 85% of the total employment in units with 10 or more workers as per the sixth Economic Census.

The QES was suspended after September quarter of 2017 as data on employment generation depicted by it was substantially dissimilar to the one in payroll data. The survey was revamped and relaunched from April-June 2021.

In the third QES, out of 12,038 allocated samples, 11,612 units were actually surveyed and have shown an estimate of 5.31 lakh establishments employing 31.45 million workers.

As per the QES, manufacturing accounted for the highest share in employment at 39%, followed by education (22%), IT/BPOs (11%), health (10%); trade (5.3%) and transport (4.2%). Manufacturing sector shows the maximum number of employees at 12.40 million workers followed by education (6.93 million), IT/BPOs (3.46 million), and health (3.29 million). These four sectors constitute 83% of the total estimated workers in the surveyed nine sectors. While the IT/BPOs sector shows an estimate of 3.46 million workers, only 4,650 are at India level.

The least number of employees has been engaged by the construction sector at only 619,227 workers. Financial services, accommodation and restaurants also engaged very less workforce with 885,001 and 811,305 workers, respectively.

Overall percentage of female workers dipped to 31.6% in the latest round of QES, slightly lower than 32.1% reported during the second round of the survey.

Among the surveyed establishments, 62.6% were found to be working with 10-39 workers. Meanwhile 15% and 14% establishments are found to be in the size classes of 40-99 workers and less than 10 workers, respectively. Very few establishments have been found in the three higher size classes of establishments, namely, 100-199, 200 – 499 and 500 & more workers, their respective shares being 4.1%, 2.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

In terms of ownership, 29.97% establishments were proprietary, whereas 21.49% were private limited companies. Government or public sector undertakings (PSUs) made up 20.5% of the establishments in the nine sectors.

Percentage share of establishments under non-profit institutions were found to be significant for education and health sectors with 31.5% and 15.6%, respectively. Private limited companies had the most prominent presence (83.5%) in the IT/BPOs sector. Construction and transport sectors had no non-profit institution category.

The majority of financial services units fall under government or PSU ownership (41.1%). Government presence was also significant in education (43%), transport (30.7%) and health (24.1%) sectors.

Of the establishments covered in the QES, 17.1% provided skill training to their employees. Upskilling employees was most prominent in the financial services sector with 27.2% establishments providing skill training, closely followed by the IT/BPOs sector (25.1%).

Establishments in the health sector had the highest portion that provided on-the-job training at 34.9%, whereas the accommodation and restaurants sector had the lowest at 19.4%. Overall, 23.6% had provisions for on-the-job training.

For all the sectors, only 3.3% reported vacancies. The nine sectors had 185,343 vacancies by the end of December 2021. In case of 43.8% of these vacancies, the reason for the open position was not specified.

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