- On June 21, 2017
Logically speaking, an educated professional is supposed to earn way more than an informally educated and skilled worker. Not that we advocate social discrimination, but that’s just how it works in developing countries where competency is measured by one’s educational attainment. That’s why it’s surprising to know that it’s not the case anymore in two major industries all over the world.
What’s the Statistics?
One of the top human resource service companies, TeamLease, recently conducted a study showing a change of heart among engineering and electrical firms due to a disparity between the supply and demand of electricians and other similarly ranked workers. Its most recent salary primer startled many because it shows a very slim margin between the salaries of an electrician and a computer engineer. And by ‘slim margin,’ I mean a meagre Rs 3,500 difference. If it sounds like a decent disparity for you, hear this out. In eight years’ time, the primer shows that a computer engineer will earn a salary that’s about only 13.3% higher than that of an electrician who is easily qualified right upon completion of a vocational course. Now, consider the educational investment an engineering graduate made as compared to that of an electrician, a plumber, fitter, or welder. Again, a little over ten percent difference is just too small when all things are weighed from the two corners.
Driving Factors for the Unique Labor Condition
You might be curious what triggered this labor market condition. Well, like everything else in economics, the supply and demand relationship is always at point. As explained by a TeamLease official, Industrial Relations Senior VP G R Dastoor, even head hunters find it hard to outsource skilled workers who are equipped to do electrical and plumbing repairs and installations as well as welding jobs. TeamLease Co-founder & Senior VP Rituparna Chakraborty elaborates that nowadays, it’s hard to find even two skilled workers when ten are required in a certain project. Imagine what firms would do in order to employ even just one plumber, electrician, or welder.
Companies Invest in Vocational Trainings
On the demand side, the development of the infrastructure sector in the past years explains the increasing need for these skilled workers. There is also a strong presence of socio-cultural barriers which make vocational courses the least choice for the youth in the urban areas. To address this issue, various steps are taken by companies to increase the supply of skilled workers. They partner with non-government organizations to promote local skills trainings. Some companies have launched initiatives to provide vocational programs for the youth that are focused on enhancing handyman and construction skills.
While all these rapid changes happen in the skilled workers’ sector, the opposite is going on in the engineering field. The expansion of the IT industry in all corner of the world ten years ago brought about a huge demand for computer engineers, which resulted to a high number of graduates in the said field. However, more engineers are trying to enter the IT sector, causing a job mismatch among their pool. Add the oversupply of computer engineers and their subsequent exodus to a different sector, and we get a weakened drive for companies to increase the salary of these highly-educated professionals.