The Indian labour market through the lens of public sector recruitment

Insights from the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) to inform labour market policy and improve recruitment practice

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TNPSC is a constitutional body within the government of Tamil Nadu. It is responsible for conducting the exams that are used to recruit staff for administrative posts in the state’s various government departments. Because these jobs are so coveted, millions of people apply for them every year, making government recruitment an important component of the labour market.

This report uses data from TNPSC and a survey of over 3,000 candidates appearing for TNPSC exams to shed light on policy-relevant questions about the recruitment process: 

  • Who applies?
  • Why do they apply? 
  • Why are people willing to invest so much in exam preparation? 
  • Why are people willing to gamble on such low odds of getting selected? 
  • What is the best way of structuring recruitments for both candidates and the government?

The report aims to demonstrate how a deeper understanding of the recruitment process and candidate application behaviour can help us tackle some of the most pressing issues in the Indian labour market today, including the causes of educated unemployment, low female labour force participation, a lack of skill development, and more.

Key suggestions

  • Recruitment agencies should consider employing data analysts
  • Household surveys should include questions that identify candidates preparing for competitive exams
  • Recruitment agencies should try to educate candidates about the selection process
  • To address the problem of educated unemployment, focus on supply, not just demand
  • Recruitment agencies should be mindful of how their policy decisions affect the labour market.

Read full report

The image used is for representational purpose only. 

Image credit: Selena Jain, Pixabay

About the Author

Kunal Mangal holds a PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University. He is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University. For more information about his work related to public sector recruitment, visit his website at https://​kman​gal​.github​.io.