A community social media platform, LocalCircles issued a statement where they confirmed that because of the COVID-19 situation, many Small businesses have shut down and this has severely impacted workers all over India. Female workers were impacted the most with either no employment or single-stream revenue which has made their life very hard in these already trying times.
A survey was conducted with the participation of over 8,000 startup founders and SME owners where the intention was to find an approximate level of impact that female workers have adjusted through, the workforce adjustments by the companies and other relevant aspects. This survey also aimed to find the hiring prospects of companies over the next six months to get an estimate on recovery percentage.
The survey results were not exactly shocking and somewhere or the other, it was expected. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) along with Micro businesses had to cut down on their employee workforce retaining only a few experts significant for the company’s survival. Approximately 30% of the total workforce was reduced and mostly the women were affected in the past few months.
25% of SMEs had to close its door and let go of all employees, 10-15% of the small businesses reduced their workforce by half which majorly impacted women. A very few percentage of businesses had to increase their employees during this COVID crisis and about 15% of businesses witnessed no change in employment even during the pandemic.
These workforce adjustments with either 50% pay cut or 50% reduced workforce significantly impacted women workers and surprisingly from the past few months, there has not been a single report which suggests the increase in women workers as a business recovery procedure.
India is already at the lowest spot when it comes to representation of women workforce in businesses and because of the Pandemic and these new workforce adjustments made by the SMEs, this number has stooped down even further which is not a good thing.
During the survey, about 30-40% SMEs agreed to the women worker’s situation during the pandemic and confirms to hire more women in the workforce over the next six months while surprisingly about 50% companies do not even plan to consider hiring women workforce. The Government’s latest Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme was executed for such problems and to help small businesses grow. Well, this survey confirms that even this scheme had a limited impact on the situation.
However, it is very much possible that these numbers were seriously affected by the maternity Amendment Bill of 2017 which made sure that pregnant women are allowed to take up to six months paid leave during her situation.
To conclude with a number, over 40% of Small and Medium Enterprises have planned to hire over 40% of women employees over the next six months.