How many jobs have the new retailers actually created?
The Wall Street Journal, in an article last month, writes that jobs in India’s booming retail industry are a ticket out of the slums for many. The article, titled Humble Jobs at the Mall Are Lifting Legions of Indians Out of Poverty and told from the viewpoint of three employees of Pantaloon in Mumbai, goes on to say that
Such basic sales jobs, unremarkable and often derided in the West, are providing careers, confidence, and a shot at entering the consumer class to millions (emphasis mine) of impoverished young men and women across India. As their ranks swell, these children of slum dwellers, servants, sweepers and others low on the socioeconomic totem pole are forming a new stratum of workers. They are likely to play an important role in determining the future of the world’s second-most-populous nation.
Firm data are hard to come by, but available statistics and anecdotal evidence suggest an explosion in service jobs. Over the next three years, says the Images Group, a research and consulting group in India, the retail sector will create more than 2.5 million new jobs in the country. India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. says it will hire close to 500,000 people to staff its new chain of supermarkets. Pantaloon Retail Ltd., India’s largest retailer with annual sales of around $1 billion, hires more than 500 people a month. [link - subscription required]
The story seems very encouraging. However, I’m a tad puzzled at the evidence — it’s rather slender and the three data points don’t jell.
Data point # 1: Pantaloon, India’s biggest retailer is adding 500 people a month (extrapolating, that makes it 18,000 over the next three years. An assumption, here)
Data point # 2: Reliance will add 500,000 new employees.
Data point #3: The Images Group forecasts 2.5 million new jobs in retail over the next three years.
This might seem like a quibble, but are we to believe that
a) Reliance will add 83 times more employees than Pantaloon — 500,000 vs 18,000
b) Pantaloon, India’s biggest retailer will add only 0.72% of the new hires — 18,000 out of a total of 2.5 million, or
c) Reliance alone, with 500,000 new employees, will contribute 20% of the new jobs?
Q) Any hard data available regarding employment growth in India’s retail sector?
Update: Earlier posts on India’s retail industry
– Protect The Chain But At What Cost
– Kirana Will Still Rule
– The Better, Faster Road To Development
– The Wrong Behind
– A Nation Of Self-Employed
– More Bang For the Government Buck
– FDI In Single Brand Retail
– Rice, Roads And Regulations