Friday, September 7, 2007

Manpower for India is Like Oil for the Gulf

I keep saying is that India is at a point as the Gulf was at the time of discovery of oil. Manpower will do to India what oil did to the Gulf.

Gulf prospered with the discovery of oil in the regions. Suddenly coutries there became rich. Propserity zoomed.

Lets consider some facts:
1. Indian population makes up for one sixth of the gloabl population. Our population is one billion in the world's population of six billion.
2. I quote here exhaustively from the article "The battle for brainpower" in the Economist, Oct 5th, 2006. Ageing population will have dramtic effect in Europe and Japan. By 2025 the number of people aged 15 - 64 is projected to fall by 7% in Germany, 9% in Italy and 14% in Japan. Im America retitrement of the baby-boomers which has just started will mean companies will lose large numbers of experienced workers over a short period of time. Biggest companies will lose half their senior managers in the next 5 years or so.

Economics will require manpower in the countries which will face large scale shortfall of manpower. This will mean that Indian manpower will be sought after. This may not be just in the area of IT, but even at the lower level jobs. Legislation will be the biggest restricting factor. But economics will govern. Politics will follow economics. Legislation will follow politics. Economics will mean that people will find ways of getting the necessary labour where they need to keep the economic engine going. Maybe illegally too.

But population itself is only a raw material like crude oil. Unless crude is refined it is of no use. So also with the manpower. Unless it is educated, skilled and employable the numbers itself mean nothing.

But the good thing is that the awareness of Indian talent has been increasing over the years and will increase over the coming years. Fifteen to twenty years later those who are good at refining the raw material into meaningful skilled talent, like the large Indian IT companies, will tend to benefit. MNCs or anyone ouside will have to give up the view of being able to get trained resources off the shelf. If they want talent in large numbers they will have to be able to invest in the refining process.

Govt will not be in a position to create adequate infrastructure to provide the right kind of education. Private investment has been happening in the post schooling education, but the primary education is still a big domain of the government and this is not going to move fast enough to keep pace with the need. Economics will find its own path for fulfilling its course.