ILO/Sida Partnership on Employment Working Paper No. 1

Structural change and employment in India

The paper aims to look at the issue of structural change in India during a high growth period (2000-2012) in which improvement in employment structure was not very rapid. The paper focuses on the labour transfer dimensions of structural change. It attempts to link the process of labour transfer to the growth process in India. Normally this is done at an economic sector level that does not distinguish between the organised and unorganised economy. On the other hand, the labour transfer that is expected in theory is sometimes associated with shifts of workers from the unorganised to the organised economy. The paper argues that labour transfer only needs productivity differentials across economic sectors to occur and this may or may not be across the unorganised/organised divide. In India, the majority of labour transfer occurred across economic sectors within the unorganised economy. This is why the slow change in employment structure in the fast growing economy was not surprising.