RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • India will have the world's largest workforce by 2027, with 1 billion people aged between 15 and 64 years.
  • At the same time around digitization, automation, and advances in artificial intelligence will disrupt the world of work.
  • The kinds of skills required to thrive in that disrupted world will shift, with profound implications for workers, especially the marginalized ones.


India's workforce—at the cusp of transformation

India will house the world's largest workforce by 2027, with 1 billion people aged between 15 and 64 years. Clearly, concerted efforts and innovative interventions are needed to ensure these workers are able to access and afford the skills training required for better-paying jobs. Without that, many workers face the risk of falling behind or dropping off the radar altogether.

Our research focuses on five occupation groups—construction workers, handypersons, retail salespersons, hospitality staff and microentrepreneurs. They're part of the low-skills group, which accounts for 70 percent of jobs and a significant portion of India's GDP. We've delved into how digital platforms and emerging technologies could transform their work profiles and have created a persona of their modern avatars in 2025. For instance, the new-age retail salesperson will use VR headsets. The digital electrician will be adept with sensors and smart devices. The modern microentrepreneur will harness new financial technologies.

Solving India's skilling puzzle

India's skilling challenges are complex and require an innovative and collaborative approach. A successful training and upskilling ecosystem must meet the diverse and context-specific learning needs of workers of all ages, and education and digital literacy levels. We propose a holistic mix of skills that must be imparted on a sustained basis, in line with a market-relevant incentive structure. We have captured the type of skills that are key to the five focused occupation groups below and institutions that can effectively deliver these programs.

Handypersons

Undertakes tasks as varied as plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work. They lack formal skilling but learn on the job, often from family members.

Salespersons

The retail sector is a crucial employer of young people who leave the education system before graduation.

Construction workers

The construction sector which mostly relies on unorganized labour, is among India’s biggest job providers.

Housekeeping staff

Travel and tourism continue to be an attractive option for young men and women looking for their first job after completing or dropping out of school.

Microentrepreneurs

The micro, small, and medium enterprises sector is India’s second-largest employer after agriculture, creating more than a million jobs each year.

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Helping marginal workers

Foundation skills

  • These skills, comprising English language, numeracy and interpersonal communication are critical to learning and earning.
  • Such programs can be implemented by workforce development agencies.

Digital fluency

  • For workers to remain relevant and keep pace with new technologies, digital literacy including web skills, and know-how about online transactions and utility apps are a must.
  • Accenture can help impart these skills in partnership with workforce development agencies.

Business basics

  • To analyze market trends and respond to them effectively, business basics covering social media marketing, fundraising and accounting would help.
  • Corporations can provide tech expertise to help workforce development agencies drive these solutions to beneficiaries.

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Meet the team

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