In a country marked by low female labour force participation, robots, artificial intelligence and other forms of automation could spell further job losses for women. By 2030, up to 12 million women in India could risk losing their jobs to automation, according to a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute. The study on the future of women at work mapped the impact of automation on occupation among women in 10 countries. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, transportation and warehousing are among sectors where job losses from automation will be the most acute for India’s female workers. It will require future job seekers to upskill themselves and gain secondary education. Men could lose roughly up to 44 million jobs to automation in the same period in India, McKinsey noted. The report comes even as joblessness touches a 45-year high and female labour force participation rate remains a low 27%. Automation has become a threat to workers around the globe, especially in economies that rely heavily on manual labour in manufacturing and services. Worried, companies and governments of the world over are upskilling employees and finding means to prevent workers from being made redundant by robots and artificial intelligence.
Tech magnate and Wipro Ltd founder Mr. Azim Premji, who turned a small maker of vegetable oil into a USD 8.5 billion software behemoth, will retire as the company head by July-end and hand over reins of the firm to his son, Rishad. Mr. Premji, who turns 74 next month, will retire as executive chairman upon the completion of his current term on July 30, 2019, after having led the company for 53 years, Wipro said in a statement. Mr. Rishad Azim Hasham Premji is Wipro’s Chief Strategy Officer since May 2015 and has been on the company board since 2018. A BA in Economics from Wesleyan University in US and an MBA degree holder from Harvard Business School, he is also Chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). Mr. Azim Premji, who gave up studies at Stanford in 1966 to look after the family’s cooking oil business when his father died, will continue to serve on the board as a non-executive director for five years till July 2024. He has also been conferred the title of founder chairman. Wipro board also announced that chief executive officer and executive director Mr. Abidali Z Neemuchwala will be re-designated as CEO and managing director, while Mr. Rishad Premji will be re-appointed as whole-time director for a period of five years with effect from July 31, 2019, to July 30, 2024.
Mr. Deepinder Goyal, Founder, Zomato believes that a lot of that imbalance at the top stems from an unequal leave policy for men and women when they welcome their children to this world. And hence, understanding the need for both men and women to be there for their children, Zomato has decided to extend paid parental leaves to all of its employees, irrespective of their gender. “For women across the globe we will be offering 26 weeks paid leave, or will follow the government mandated policy, whichever is more. We will be offering exactly the same benefits to men as well. There won’t be even an iota of difference in parental leave policy for men and women at Zomato going forward,” wrote Mr. Goyal in his blog. What’s even more interesting is that this policy also applies to non-birthing parents, and in cases of surrogacy, adoption, and same-sex partners. Additionally, the new parents will also be given an endowment of $1000, per child. These policy changes will be applicable to even those employees at Zomato who have had a child within the last 6 months. In a country, where same sex-relationships have only recently got acceptance, the trend of extending parental leaves for all the genders alike and in the cases like surrogacy and adoption, is not that popular. Even if some forward-thinking companies have such policies for male employees and non-birthing parents, the leaves given our often not as long as 26 weeks. As the government has not mandated the employers to extend leaves for this long, not many companies themselves have taken that initiative.
The Startup India initiative has created an estimated 187,004 direct jobs since its inception in 2016, with the number of related indirect jobs taking the total tally to more than 560,000, the government has claimed. “Start-ups create valuable jobs. 187,004 jobs have been reported by 16,105 Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)-recognized start-ups, i.e., more than 11 direct jobs per start-up. With each direct job leading to 3x indirect jobs, the total jobs created by these start-ups are estimated at more than 560,000,” Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, DPIIT secretary, said. However, the figures are self-reported by start-ups and not verified by the government. This job growth has come at a rough cost of more than Rs 2,500 crore disbursed by the government to fund start-ups. In 2016, the Centre had established a Rs 10,000-crore fund of funds under the Small Industries Development Bank of India (Sidbi) to meet the financial needs of start-ups.
Ford will shut its engine plant in Wales next year, costing about 1,700 jobs, the US auto giant announced in a further blow to Britain’s embattled car sector struggling with Brexit uncertainty and a global race to meet rising demand for electric vehicles. The head of Ford’s Europe division, Mr. Stuart Rowley, said in a company statement that “changing customer demand and cost disadvantages” had contributed to making the Bridgend facility in south Wales “economically unsustainable in the years ahead” and that it would shut in late 2020. Ford insisted that the US group remained “committed to the UK, where it continues to be the passenger and commercial vehicle sales leader”. Mr. Len McCluskey, general secretary of Britain’s biggest union Unite, called the announcement “a grotesque act of economic betrayal”. He called upon the British government and devolved Welsh assembly to help fight the closure and “prevent yet another grave injury to UK manufacturing”. The news is a further blow to the British car sector amid heightened uncertainty over the UK’s departure from the European Union. It comes also as sales of diesel cars plummet with consumers increasingly switching to greener electric vehicles.
Female employees of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will now get three more months of maternity leave during their service period. According to the revised rules for maternity leaves notified by the Finance Ministry, an employee will get a maximum of 15 months of maternity leave during her service period. The norms cover Class-I officers, Development Officers and Class III/IV employees and have come into effect from May 31, 2019. As of March 31, 2018, out of LIC’s total employee strength of nearly 1.12 lakh, 24,000 were women. According to the notification, the maternity leave may be granted for a period which may extend up to six months at a stretch, subject to a maximum of 15 months during the entire period of the employee’s service. The maternity leave to a female officer having two or more surviving children shall be granted for a maximum period of three months at a stretch. Simply put, the leave will be for six months at a stretch each for the first and the second child, but just three months for the third child.
Ecommerce major Flipkart has appointed M. Dina Dsouza as Director Monetisation for Flipkart Ads, as per media reports. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Dsouza was the Vice-President at POKKT Video Ads and was looking into enhancing sales across markets. Ms. Dsouza had joined POKKT in January 2016 and part of the leadership team at POKKT, a leading video ad platform for Mobile games in India & the SEA region. At POKKT, she was responsible for driving sales & building the revenue strategy for the organization across markets. She was responsible for successfully driving discussions with key partners on the mobile gaming ecosystem which led to some of the top brands scaling revenues & including mobile gaming as part their digital strategy. Prior to POKTT, she was Senior Vice President, Digital at 9X Media for year. Before that, she spent over six years at Microsoft as their India sales lead, driving advertising and online. Her 18 years of experience also includes stints at Yahoo! and Bennett Coleman Co. Limited.
SpiceJet plans to hire up to 2,000 staff, including pilots and cabin crew, of the defunct Jet Airways as the no-frills carrier continues to expand its operations. The airline has taken at least 22 planes that were earlier used by Jet Airways, which temporarily shuttered its operations due to cash crunch in April. “We have taken significant number of people from Jet Airways. They were well qualified ad professional people. We will continue to take more Jet staff in the times to come. “We have taken around 1,100 people so far. Expectation is that we will go up to 2,000 people. It will be pilots, cabin crew, (people) from airport services, security,” SpiceJet Chairman and Managing Director Mr. Ajay Singh said. Currently, SpiceJet has around 14,000 staff and a fleet of 100 planes. It is the fourth airline after Air India, now defunct Jet Airways and IndiGo to have 100 aircraft.
Volkswagen AG’s main car brand said it will cut as many as 4,000 general and administrative jobs in Germany — fewer than previously indicated — while adding at least 2,000 IT positions over the next four years and extending a job guarantee until 2029. “We are making the company fit for the digital age in a sustainable way,” VW brand Chief Operating Officer Mr. Ralf Brandstaetter said in a statement. VW said in March it was looking to trim as many as 7,000 jobs by 2023. Plans to achieve an annual profit gain of 5.9 billion euros ($6.7 billion) starting in 2023 and deepen cutbacks irked VW’s union leaders as manufacturers wrestle with the transformation of sprawling industrial operations. Software solutions are shaking up the industry’s traditional business model and electric cars require fewer parts and workers for assembly. The Volkswagen car brand, which accounts for about half the group’s global deliveries, employs about 185,000 workers out of a total workforce of 663,000. VW has been pushing to rein in bloated expenses to lift profitability that’s trailing rivals like PSA Group.
Apple supplier Foxconn is planning to overhaul its management structure to get more senior executives involved in the running of its daily operations. The move to appoint a new “operations committee” comes as Chairman and Founder Mr. Terry Gou is seeking to run in Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election. He said that he planned to step down from Foxconn to pave the way for younger talent to move up the ranks. The overhaul will mark a major shift in Foxconn’s corporate leadership that has seen 68-year-old Mr. Gou hold a tight grip on the firm’s daily operations and strategic decisions. “The good thing is it will no longer be a company ruled by one man and the decisions won’t be as dogmatic as they used to be,” sources said. “It will be a co-management model.” Investors are keen for any insight into succession plans at the world’s largest contract manufacturer, whose business ranges from smartphone assembling to panel manufacturing, and what it means for plans laid out by Mr. Gou such as a $10 billion investment to create 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin and an $8.8 billion display factory in southern China.
OYO Hotels & Homes, as part of its efforts to improve guest safety and security, has appointed Capt. Shakil Ahmed as Vice President of Security and Risk and Ms. Annie Vig as Director- Emergency Response for India and South Asia operations. Together with multiple tech innovations for improved guest experience and safety, the hires will help strengthen existing efforts as the company focuses on elevated guest experience and safety as a key business priority. Captain Shakil Ahmed, has over two decades of experience spanning the Indian Army, Banking & Financial Sector, Pharmaceuticals, FMCG, Manufacturing, BFSI and E-commerce sectors. He has previously led Global Security, South Asia at Pfizer, Brand Protection at Diageo India and has most recently led the middle mile Logistics and Supply Chain Security program for Amazon in India. Ms. Annie Vig brings with her a rich experience of over 20 years. She is passionate about safety oversight, both, at work as well as home. While at her previous organization- IndiGo, she worked closely with the chief of safety and the CEO and was responsible for developing and leading the implementation of policies and strategies derived from ERM Manual through training, audits, and other modes of communications and collaborating on joint exercises with neighboring countries and security forces and other agencies.
Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has set up two cabinet panels to spur investment and employment. The Cabinet Committee on Investment & Growth will have four other members — home minister Mr. Amit Shah, highways and MSME minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari, finance minister Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman and commerce & railways minister Mr. Piyush Goyal. The Cabinet Committee on Employment & Skill Development has 10 members and, apart from Mr. Shah, Ms. Sitharaman and Mr. Goyal, they include agriculture minister Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar, petroleum minister Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan and skill development minister Mr. Mahendra Nath Pandey. The other three members are labour minister Mr. Santosh Kumar Gangwar, housing and urban development minister Mr. Hardeep Singh Puri and HRD minister Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal. The Periodic Labour Force Survey of the National Sample Survey Office released showed that the unemployment rate in the country was 5.3% in rural India and 7.8% in urban India, resulting in an overall unemployment rate of 6.1% during 2017-18. The unemployment rate was at a 45-year high, although the government said the numbers were not comparable with earlier periods because of a change in methodology.
British insurer Aviva will change the structure of its UK business and cut costs across the firm, with the loss of 1,800 jobs. Aviva said it would make cost cuts of 300 million pounds ($380.22 million) over three years, in a statement ahead of its first investor day under new Chief Executive Mr. Maurice Tulloch. The cost base in 2018 was four billion pounds, an Aviva spokeswoman said. Following the departure of Mr. Andy Briggs, head of the life and general insurer’s UK business and a contender for the top job, Aviva said it would review its UK life and general insurance businesses. Its UK digital business, housed in a former garage in the City’s tech district, will be incorporated into the general insurance business, Aviva said. Ms. Angela Darlington has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer of UK life and Mr. Colm Holmes CEO of general insurance across the group, including Britain. “Today is the first step in our plan to make Aviva simpler, more competitive and more commercial,” Tulloch said in the statement. “Reducing Aviva’s costs is essential.” Aviva employs 30,000 people and its international markets include Canada, France, Ireland and Asia. Aviva said trading to date had been in line with 2018 and reiterated its commitment to a progressive dividend policy.
There was a sharp 10 per cent decline in the approval of H-1B visas by the US in the fiscal year 2018 which experts attributed to the “aggressive” policies of the Trump administration to clamp down on the use of the work visa programme, popular among highly-skilled Indian IT professionals. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 335,000 H-1B visas, which included both new and renewable, in the fiscal year 2018. This was 10 per cent less from 373,400 in the previous fiscal year of 2017, according to the USCIS’s annual statistical report. The approval rate of H-1B declined from 93 per cent in 2017 to 85 per cent in 2018.
More manufacturing jobs, land and labour reforms including national employment policy, new industrial policy, direct tax code, lower corporate tax and a reasonable control on fiscal deficit formed part of the measures outlined by industry body CII as ‘100 days agenda for the government’. Industry leaders from CII pointed to the growth slowdown in the economy, pegging this year’s GDP at 7-7.4 per cent. For GDP to grow at 10 per cent by 2023-24, the total investment requirement is estimated at $5.74 trillion for the next five years, CII President Mr. Vikram Kirloskar said. Of this, the total investment required for infrastructure sector is estimated at $1.18 trillion for the next five years, while for non-infrastructure including agriculture and industry to be $4.56 trillion, he said. He said the private sector is facing difficulty in getting land for manufacturing units and the states have a huge role to play and there is a need to create land banks. On labour reforms, he suggested for the formulation of national employment policy and encourage states to provide fixed-term employment besides incentivising companies for creating employment.