New Delhi: India will likely provide the biggest increase to the global labour force over the next decade, adding an additional 110 million workers by 2020, a study said Wednesday.
The rise in workers is equivalent to the current combined population of Britain and South Korea.
The projection for India contrasts with forecasts by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that China’s labour force will increase by just 15 million over the next decade while Japan’s will fall by three million.
The changing demographics could add four percentage points of GDP growth to India’s economy which is already expanding by more than eight percent, the Goldman Sachs report said.
It said manufacturing could create the jobs needed to absorb the rise in the workforce, but the country will need a “massive overhaul of its archaic labour laws and (make) a heavy investment in education and skills training.”
Firms employing over 100 workers cannot make layoffs without government permission, which reduces incentives to invest in skill development, discourages economies of scale and inhibits competitiveness, the report said.
“Unless India reforms its labour laws, the industrial growth that is needed to absorb labour will remain in the realm of potential,” warned Tushar Poddar, chief India economist at Goldman Sachs.
The report estimated that between now and 2030, India’s labour force would mushroom by at least 210 million.
The rise in the labour force will come from more of the population reaching working age and a greater number of women in the jobs market.
The country has a staggering 51% of its population of 1.1 billion people under the age of 25 and two-thirds under 35, according to government figures.
Experts say India’s “youth bulge”, seen lasting until 2050, could turn out to be its greatest asset -- or a demographic disaster if the country fails to provide education and jobs for its burgeoning workforce.