Indeed has studied the migration of white-collar employees from tier-1 cities of employment to their native towns – the triggers, the trade-offs, and the outlook of employers. Surveying employees and employers across 12 cities in India, India’s Job Market: The Pandemic & White-Collar Migration report by Indeed focuses on the trend of reverse migration as economic recovery accelerates.
Indian companies appear less willing than their global counterparts to support remote work post-pandemic. 59% of employers are not in favor of remote working in the new normal and 7 in 10 say they will not continue it once a solution to the pandemic is in place, even as 3 out of 4 employers highlight no decline in employee productivity due to remote working. 67% large and 70% mid-size Indian firms, as opposed to their global counterparts (60% large and 34% mid-size), are not in favor of a post-pandemic, remote working set-up.
Even digitally agile startups indicated they will revert to an in-office model post the pandemic with 90% saying they would not like to continue remote working once a solution for the pandemic was in place.
This survey was conducted by ValueVox on behalf of Indeed among 1200 employees and 600 employers. The survey was conducted between the month of December 2020 and January 2021.
Here are a few more highlights:
Reverse migration is a passing trend
46% of employees also said reverse migration is temporary and 50% of employees said they were willing to shift back to a metro from their native place if the job demands it. They attributed a future return to aspects like availability of WFH options (29%) and bringing the pandemic under control (24%), with only 9% saying they will stay on in their native places permanently. 1 in 2 employees says they are willing to shift back to a metro if their job demands it and only 32% are willing to take any form of pay cut even if it means finding a job in their native place.
The willingness to take a pay cut in order to work from their hometowns decreases with hierarchy – 88% senior-level employees say they were unwilling to take a pay cut and 50% say they would shift back to a metro if their job demands it.
Women more willing to move
60% of female employees, more than double their male counterparts (29%), say they are willing to relocate to their hometowns owing to the lack of a family support system in a current environment marked by quarantined living conditions or employers aiming to reduce the cost of employees by increasing working hours.
However, women (60%) are more unwilling than men (42%) to take a pay cut to continue working from their hometowns. In a situation that already threatens to widen labor market inequalities, 59% of women, over 29% of men, believe it will be difficult to find a job in their native place. 60% of female employees say they are willing to move back to a metro from their native place if the job demands it.
Will remote working foster development in Tier-2/3 cities?
30% of employers might consider setting up operations in small towns to take advantage of the reverse migration trend. Large and medium businesses – both global and Indian – are willing to set up new operations or enhance existing operations in Tier-2/3 cities in significant numbers varying from 50% to 88%. In addition, 50% of employees are optimistic that reverse migration can cause their hometowns to develop into metros either in the near future (21%) or in the long term (29%).
While employers list internet services (30%), app-based businesses (30%), and retail, healthcare, and entertainment centers (27%) as key areas for business development in metros of the future, more than half of employers (55%) said there are talent shortages in upcoming metros. This could serve as a deterrent to employers, indicating that reverse migration could be a temporary phenomenon.
As per Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Indeed India, “remote” and “WFH” job searches were up 437% in March 2021 from the same period last year, which is a reflection of rapidly evolving work modes. However, will these work modes play out as we progress towards recovery is something we have to wait for.