Internet’s Next Big Leap in India: Job Creation in Rural & Semi-Urban Areas

“We are adding five million new users a month and that should take the user base to 500 million by 2018-19,” says Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India.

The way in which India’s internet economy is burgeoning is nothing short of extraordinary. For all the ills and bottlenecks ailing the country today, internet is the all consuming, all pervasive levelling field. It has the potential to change the social, political and economic landscape of a country in irrevocable ways, and in many ways is already doing so. In India, this holds umpteen promises for the millions of job seekers looking to lead a life of dignity and achieve affluence within their peers.

With over 300 million internet users in India, one is bound to see interesting developments as far as the avenues for job creation as well as the mechanism for hiring are concerned. The Internet sector directly employs around 4-5 lakh people as of now, most of which are driven by private infrastructure, eCommerce products and the services sector. It is moreover estimated that with rapid growth in the e-commerce sector, the internet economy could well create almost 15-20 lakh jobs by 2018. This would ultimately be instrumental in catalysing the generation of about 65 million jobs indirectly, via services and sectors dependent on the internet in some form or the other.

With an average person in an urban area using the internet for almost everything – booking movie tickets, buying clothes and apparel, ordering food online etc. – it makes sense for such a person to be able to use a smartphone to find a job. A new class of internet users, who can be referred to as the ‘data discoverers’, holds special significance here. These are the nouveau users, who access the internet through mobile phones and cyber cafes in order to fulfill extremely targeted, specific needs, such as submitting forms for various examinations or downloading songs and movies of their interest. They belong to the semi-urban and rural areas, and have just started to discover the myriad ways in which data and information from the internet could be useful to them.

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With gradual evolution in their understanding of the internet and need, they too would now prefer a digital entity which makes searching for entry level or blue collar jobs less cumbersome. Such a user would also like the freedom to choose the most relevant job, based on the location as well as the salary that individual companies are offering. Recruiters too, on their part, would have to adjust their hiring strategy in order to reach a wider audience and hence to be able to attract skilled candidates to apply for various vacancies. Making all of this possible on a single digital platform easily accessible through a smartphone would facilitate a smooth, efficient job marketplace.

Internet growth, it is estimated, could help open the gates to a $200 billion dollar economy, augmenting per capita income by almost 29%. In the future, where every second Indian is an internet user, job seekers as well as recruiters would do well to adapt to a dynamic job marketplace in a mutually beneficial way so as to ensure that everyone gets a share of the pie.

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