Alongside rapid economic growth, India also saw steady de-agrarianisation of its economy in terms of contribution to GDP. In terms of employment, however, the movement out of agriculture was slower, and when they did exit, it was often a withdrawal from the workforce entirely. In general, more of the workforce are in salaried employment, however, these have filtered differently by gender, caste and religion. While cross-sectional data gives us a sense of how these structural changes affect workers at any given point in time, it cannot tell us how these play out for workers over their lifetime as well as how different generations or cohorts of workers have been affected. Here, we use seven rounds of nationally representative official data to construct cohorts who are tracked over these periods to observe employment participation and the patterns over time. We find that younger generations of women systematically less likely to be in paid employment whereas for men, after a certain age, generations look similar in terms of employment rate. Similarly, when examined from the perspective of cohorts, we find that access to salaried employment has changed by gender and caste, and increase in earnings over time over their lifecycle has slowed for certain groups.
- Rosa Abraham