Robust Labor Markets

Solomon Prakash LabourNet

Over 90% of India’s labor force exists in the informal sector with much of the population comprised of migrants moving into cities looking for work and a better future. Conditions are poor, incomes low, and benefits non-existent. With little formal training, this largely uneducated workforce is not able to access skills training needed to make themselves more employable. For employers, the unorganized nature of the country’s working poor makes it difficult to find the skilled workers they need. Instead of hiring trained laborers who require less supervision, they have little option beyond spending extra money overseeing and micromanaging jobs.

Enter Ashoka Fellow, Solomon Prakash, whose organization, LabourNet, is bringing order to the system in ways that are benefiting both parties. Certified skills training for workers coupled with job evaluation and an employee search tool enables employers to find the types of workers they need for a job. Quickly and with confidence. The migrant laborers are registered into a skills and industry database and given an ID card, making them more visible and more easily employable. The identity provided by LabourNet opens up a range of protections and services, like bank accounts and healthcare, for people once part of a vast unorganized and disadvantaged workforce.

It’s a win-win for both sides. Workers enjoy better job opportunities and access to welfare schemes. Employers get access to the vast pool of skilled workers.

In a relatively short amount of time, LabourNet has made great strides in helping tens of thousands of migrant workers get jobs, identities, and services. It’s well on the way to its goal of empowering one million workers in India’s informal sector by 2020.