The share of salaried women among all employed women in urban areas declined for the fourth consecutive quarter in Q4FY23 to 54.2 per cent, as firms began emphasising the need to return to office after the pandemic relented.
According to the latest quarterly Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data for the March quarter of FY23, released on Monday, the share of self-employed women increased to 38.5 per cent from 37.9 per cent in the December quarter of FY23, while that of casual labour decreased marginally to 7.3 per cent from 7.6 per cent during the same time period.
In contrast, the share of salaried men in cities increased for the fourth consecutive quarter to 47.3 per cent in Q4FY23 from 46.9 per cent in the previous quarter. In the December quarter of FY23, the share of salaried women workers stood at 54.5 per cent.
The fall in the share of salaried women comes at a time when women have showed greater enthusiasm for work in the March quarter, which is evident from an increase in their labour force participation rate (LFPR) to 22.7 per cent in the March quarter of FY23 compared to 20.4 per cent in March quarter of FY22.
Suchita Dutta, executive director, Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), said the retreat of women from salaried jobs in the post-pandemic period was due to lack of flexible work arrangements, which led to a disproportionate burden of family responsibilities falling on them.
“As firms began emphasising the need to return to work, the entrenched gender biases came back and women chose self-employment. Hence, it’s crucial for organisations and policymakers alike to recognise these challenges and take proactive steps to support women’s retention in the formal workforce,” she added.
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Echoing a similar view, Rituparna Chakraborty, vice-president, TeamLease Services, said though joblessness had come down among women in the post-pandemic period, their quality of work had deteriorated and it would take some time for women in employment at large to show a visible positive impact.
Though the employment share of women in the primary sector, which includes agriculture and allied activities, declined in the March quarter, it remained elevated at 9.3 per cent.