New Delhi, October 20: Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in India, as many as 78% MSMEs and startups across the country have reduced workforce in the last 8 months. As per a survey by LocalCircles, only 22 percent startups and MSMEs have the same or increased workforce as compared to the pre-COVID levels. According to reports, India's startups and MSMEs ecosystem went through a torrid time due to the deadly pandemic and lockdown that was imposed across the country. Revenues and operations were severely impacted for most businesses which led to cost cutting and some even shut down temporarily or permanently. Per CMIE, 6 million Indians had already lost white collar jobs in the March - August period.
To understand the impact of the pandemic on startup and MSME, a survey conducted by LocalCircles received over 7,000 responses from startups, MSMEs and entrepreneurs spread across 104 top business districts of the country. In the survey, startups and MSMEs were asked about how have workforce adjustments taken place in their business during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response, 25 percent said their business has shut down and all workforce has been let go, while 15 percent said their workforce has reduced by 50 percent or more.
A 19 percent said their workforce has reduced by 25-50%, and another 19 percent said their workforce has reduced by up to 25 percent. A 6 percent said their workforce has increased and 16 percent said they have same workforce as pre coronavirus time. This shows that 78 percent MSMEs and startups in India have reduced workforce in the last 8 months since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and only 22 percent startups and MSMEs have the same or increased workforce as compared to the pre-COVID levels.
The Government also took steps to help these small businesses through the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, but its advantages per feedback from businesses in July this year has been quite limited, the survey said.
The startups and MSMEs in India were asked about how employment of women has been in their business 8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, 7 percent said women in their workforce have been reduced by 50-100 percent, 12 percent said women in their workforce have reduced by 25-50 percent, and 12 percent said women in our workforce have been reduced by up to 25 percent. 46 percent said they still have same number of women in the workforce as pre COVID-19. Not a single business reported increase in the number of women employees during the course of the 8 months of COVID-19 pandemic.
This means that 31 percent MSMEs and startups in India have reduced women workforce in the last 8 months. The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) among women in India, is one of the lowest in the world and appears to have slid even further during the COVID -19 pandemic.
In the final question, startups and MSMEs were asked looking at the next 6 months as to how do they see employment of women in their business. In response, 50 percent said they don't plan to hire any women employees while 30 percent said they plan to hire 1-5 women employees. 13 percent said they plan to hire 6-10 women employees and 7 percent were unsure about it.