As India continues to grapple with the economic crisis and the threat of the global pandemic, white construction is the perfect fit for a country facing massive unemployment.
“It’s the best industry for us, for us to build,” says a senior white construction worker from Pune, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The boom in the industry is in part due to a rise in foreign investment, as the government and business leaders have been urging local workers to migrate to other countries.
While India is still a small country, it has the potential to become a major economic powerhouse in the years to come.
“The jobs are going to come from the US, the UK and other countries, so it’s the perfect match,” says J.P. Ramakrishnan, CEO of NTT Construction and a member of the Indian Council of Technology and Entrepreneurs.
A major hurdle in the construction industry, however, is the lack of skilled labour.
The shortage of skilled workers is one of the main reasons why white construction companies are such a popular industry in India, says Ramakri.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the government is encouraging foreign firms to recruit Indian workers and provide them with jobs.
“We have seen many companies in the past who have come to India and tried to recruit local workers, but there is not enough local talent, especially because of the difficulty in getting proper accreditation for a job,” Ramakruti said.
The lack of quality in white construction jobs can make it difficult for workers to find employment.
“When you’re working with a subcontractor, there is no time for training,” said K.R. Vidyasagar, CEO and co-founder of NGT Construction.
“We need trained staff.
This is why I would say we should focus on the skilled workforce first.”
For many years, white-collar jobs have been an attractive way for young people to start their careers.
However, that is changing as the economy is still recovering from the global crisis and many of the young people are finding it hard to find work.
“The lack [of skilled workers] has also been a huge problem for the Indian construction industry,” Ramkrishnan said.
“Even the small construction companies have a big problem with the lack [in skilled workers].”
According to a recent study by the Association of Indian Chambers of Commerce, about 2.6 million jobs in the white-collared construction industry are at risk of being lost.
And the government, which is trying to help the industry by introducing a hiring tax, is also focusing on this.
“As part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment and recruit talent, it is promoting a hiring program,” the government said in a statement last year.
The government has also launched an online portal to help people find jobs in white-coated construction.
Ramkrishnans business partner, Vijay Kumar, agrees.
“If you have a job in a white-carpet industry, you have to know the ins and outs of the job,” he said.
“Even the contractors know how to talk to the local people, because the industry has been around for more than 60 years.
They know how they can do a job.”
India is a country where, until recently, all the major sectors of the economy have been dominated by one group.
And, as jobs have become more scarce, the focus has shifted to the white sector.
“For the past 20 years, the white car industry has not been a big player,” Ramarikrishnan says.
“Now the white cars are in demand.
We have a white car, white car manufacturer, but the white workers are being replaced by foreign workers.”
It has been a good investment for Ramakirans company, with the firm hiring 3,000 people, a large majority of whom are from abroad.
“In the past few years, we have hired Indian workers from abroad, and now we are looking for white-car workers,” he says.
“It is very easy for us because we can hire people in any industry.
If you can hire us, why would you not hire them?”