More women learning on the job as manpower crunch hits shop floors

More women learning on the job as manpower crunch hits shop floors

MUMBAI: Manufacturing companies are aggressively expanding the pool of women apprentices on their shop floors, prompted by a biting shortage of skilled manpower as well as their drive to address the gender imbalance in their factories.

There is a 4-5x surge in demand for young women who have completed Class 10/12 to be appointed as apprentices in the last six months, shows data shared by TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship with ET.

“Factories are becoming increasingly gender agnostic as they are facing a big talent shortage,” said Sumit Kumar, chief business officer of TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship. “India has a skill shortage of approximately 130-150 million people across various sectors,” he said. The uptick is largely driven by a boom in auto, EV, electronics and phone manufacturing, Kumar said.

Companies hiring women apprentices in big numbers for their factories include Maruti Suzuki, MG Motors, ReNew, and Lumax.

Gender-diverse Workforce
This helps them grow and induct talent based on skill requirements to cater to their growth plans.

These apprentices are imparted on-the-job training and dexterity skills, mostly over a period of three years in partnership with an academic or skilling institute. Average stipend is `13,000-15,000 per month for the first one year, which may increase depending on the potential.

Company executives said women bring a diverse and varied set of skills to the highly male-dominated shop floors.

“Women bring about more dynamism with their varying perspectives and backgrounds,” said Rajesh Uppal, an executive board member (HR and IT) at Maruti Suzuki. The country’s largest carmaker is formulating a strategic proposal to expand its women apprentice pool to drive expansion plans, he said.

It engages more than 3,000 fresh apprentices from ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) a year, Uppal said. The company has also signed a flexi MoU with the government to upskill nearly 2,300 students every year with vocational training at its factories.

Maruti places women apprentices across different business verticals including vehicle inspection and parts and accessories.


Rival carmaker MG Motors has an MoU with Kaushalya, a skill university in Gujarat, and has set a target of upskilling 100,000 students. The company aims to be 50% gender diverse, Yeshwinder Patial, senior director HR at MG Motors India, said. “A gender diverse workforce adds tremendous value in bringing in different ideas, innovations, and solutions to the workplace,” he said.

Leading auto component manufacturer Lumax conducts dedicated drives at diploma colleges to hire women apprentices. “We expect to have at least 30-35% women on the shop floor in the next 2-3 years,” Lumax managing director Dipak Jain said. The apprentices are given dexterity training to have a safe working environment on the shop floor, he said.

At renewable energy firm ReNew, 34% of the apprentice pool is women. “Given the dearth of women in the renewable manufacturing value chain, our talent philosophy is focussing on ‘growing our own timber’,” said Vaishali Nigam Sinha, cofounder and chairperson sustainability of ReNew

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Author: Shirley