On one hand, news abounds on the number of new startups while simultaneously we hear about startups retrenching their newly acquired workforce. The concept of startups creating job opportunities is multifaceted and complicated.
While Google and Amazon are the most common examples of successful startups, even they do not stand in the top list of largest employers in the US.
The scenario at home in India is a bit more complicated.
First, Indian startups do not think on the big lines of Google or Amazon. At this point, it would be relevant to point out that a startup is technically different from a small business. A startup is generally an innovative business backed by Venture Capital money and tends to have a focus on technology.
Compared to the Silicon Valley, India may not have the silver-hued single horn unicorn companies – ones that are heavily funded. Therefore scale of operations and a larger workforce is less common.
Second, there is a growing concern that with the increase in AI, automation and process improvement, jobs will become redundant as technology may overtake the job market. A counterpoint to the thought is, when a startup comes up with newer technology or a different process often the environment creates new jobs as the existing companies need help in implementing these new processes.
Of course, the calling card of all tech startups is Disruption. By changing the way things are done these startups create new jobs.
The argument continues with another view that the newer jobs thus created require high technical skills or specific knowledge areas.
Counterpoint, here again, is that if repetitive jobs are automated, a workforce can be relieved to do more meaningful work.
While the arguments can be made on both sides, a more practical area of concern is the actual sourcing of the right talent. Many of the online job portals themselves are startups in India.
Also, a startup requires more than skills and talent in its employees. In its nascent stage, a startup needs employees with passion and the right attitude. Discovering the right talent is no easy task. The Indian recruitment market is going through rapid changes. Counterpoint here – this is another place to create disruption and therefore change market dynamics.
In all, the Indian startup scenario is very dynamic and at a point where newer jobs can be created and existing jobs can be made redundant. How the balance tilts is to be seen.
Author: Latha Vijaybaskar is the founder and editor of Purple Ink, an online platform that strives to celebrate, connect and coach women entrepreneurs.She writes about incredible women who follow their passion. She then carries her love for the everyday random in her fiction and poems.
An alumni of BIM, Trichy Latha has previously been an educationist teaching Marketing, Organizational Behaviour and Entrepreneurship both in India and Dubai.