Employment exchange gets out of work

While online job sites make quick buck, employment exchanges have turned into inefficient public offices thanks to complete disregard to rules
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last year, 969 employment exchanges spread across 28 states and seven Union Territories of India registered 6.18 million new job seekers. However, only 0.5 million (8 per cent) of these got a job. This figure officially released by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment highlights the urgent need to update the archaic set up these exchanges are run on. One of the major reasons for such a dismal performance can be attributed to complete disregard of the Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act.

The legislation makes it compulsory for all public and private sector establishments with 25 or more employees to notify all vacancies to the respective employment exchange through quarterly and biennial employment returns. The returns should include details regarding number of vacancies occurred and notified and unfilled posts because of shortage of suitable applicants. The law also entails penalty on the establishments which don’t submit these returns.

The legislation makes it compulsory for all public and private sector establishments with 25 or more employees to notify all vacancies to the respective employment exchange through quarterly and biennial employment returns.

While public sector jobs are drying up, private sector is not too willing to list vacancies with employment exchanges. As a case in point, according to documents accessed by GOI Monitor using RTI Act, only 292 private sector establishments notified vacancies to District Employment Exchange in Delhi since January 2008. The year 2010 employment review brought out by the Directorate General of Employment & Training, puts the number of private establishments in organised sector in Delhi at 6,453. Despite such a large number of violators, the authorities failed to penalise anyone since the year 2000. No wonder while 1,26,849 new job seekers were registered with the Delhi district employment exchange till September this year, only 25 persons (0.019 per cent) could get a job. Meanwhile, the money being spent on the employment exchange in Delhi has almost doubled. From Rs 50,624,000 in 2000-01, it rose to Rs 90,600,000 in 2011-12.

Of the 1,26,849 new job seekers registered in Delhi only 25 could get a job. Meanwhile, the money being spent on the employment exchange almost doubled.

The situation is no different at other employment exchanges. At Chandigarh, only 89 private sector establishments notified their vacancies to the regional employment exchange in last four years despite there being 735 firms listed in the annual review. Just one company has been penalised since 2000 for not notifying the vacancy. Of the 3,392 new job seekers registered with the regional employment exchange of Chandigarh till August 2011, only 111 (3.27 per cent) got a job. The lack of quality workforce is another reason why employment exchanges are not registering good placement rate. However, a closer look reveals a vicious circle. Absence of job seekers with good skills demotivates private firms from listing their vacancies which in turn discourages new job seekers from getting registered.

By ensuring that all vacancies in private sector are listed with it as per law, an employment exchange can attract quality workers who are currently paying either private placement agencies or job sites to make their resume reach the right place.

By ensuring that all vacancies in private sector are listed with it as per law, an employment exchange can attract quality workers who are currently paying either private placement agencies or job sites to make their resume reach the right place.

The 2009 Union budget had earmarked Rs 2,167 crore for the modernisation of these exchanges. While several employment exchanges have gone online offering services like new registration, updation of profile and vacancy notification, not much progress is evident on the ground level. The census projection report puts the current proportion of population in the working age group (15-59 years) at 62.7 per cent which is bound to increase in coming years. With such a large workforce pool waiting to be tapped, the employment exchanges have a tough task at hand and a long way to go.

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