Automation in India – Which Industries Will Get Affected the Most

Automation in India has always made the workforce very wary. Workers see a direct correlation between automation and shrinking of jobs and job losses. A recent report by the ILO (International Labor Organization) confirms this fear. According to this report, the impact of automation will be in the form of 51.8% of work being automated.

Automation in India: Jobs that will be affected

Jobs that will be affected by automation will be in areas of industrial automation like manufacturing. The immediate casualty will be low skilled jobs. Middle-skill jobs that require routine cognitive and manual application will be next in line. Clerical, sales, specialized agriculture and trade-related work are all examples that can be easily automated. India also has around 65% of global IT offshore work and 40% of global business processing work. It has been estimated that almost 69% of these jobs will be automated by 2030.

However, the future of automation in India isn’t all that bleak with India being a growing economy. Although more and more companies are going in for automation, nearly 70% of them are of the view that they will be recruiting more workers as they are in expansion mode.

Transformation of workplace

Automation will bring about different kinds of transformation in the economy of the country. The workforce will need to adapt to work with automation. This will need a change in their skill sets. Problem-solving abilities and social skills that require human thinking ability will be significantly in demand instead of physical or content skills. Time and effort spent on different jobs will not be the same. Some jobs will improve content-wise, whereas others may get lost entirely. Few jobs in call centers, retail and administration, are under the threat of losing out to automation. As women workers mainly perform these jobs, this will lead to a gender-skewered situation in the job market. Thus, automation can be a real threat to women workers.

Automation will necessitate the redeployment of workers. Organizations will need to realign on cloud platforms where workers can work from any location. Newer workforce management strategies will be required to implement this change in the workplace.

You might also be interested to read: Organizational Transformation in the Digital Age

Twin problems: Unemployment and employability crisis

We know that increasing automation of jobs will require different skill sets in the workforce. Although businesses are looking for these altered skills in their recruits, they do not always succeed in finding them. This has given rise to another crisis in the Indian job market: the employability crisis. Candidates with the right skill sets are hard to find even though companies have jobs to offer. India needs significant shifts in education and labor policies to tackle the twin challenges of unemployment and employability.

Policy changes India needs

India’s labor policy would need to pay attention to re-skilling workers by making adequate investments. A rethink about social policy (dealing with job losses) in the interim would also be a very welcome step. Livelihood insurance and universal basic income are ideas whose time has come.  Lastly, careful examination of newer areas showing potential for employment such as care economy (eldercare and unpaid care work done by women, for example) is much needed.


  • How automation will affect the job market in India. Vivek Kaul. 1/4/2019. Livemint
  • How AI will transform India’s job scene. Francis Kuriakose and Deepa Iyer. Nov 2018. The Hindu BusinessLine

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