India’s GDP has shot up by 64% since 2008 but its citizens remain among the worst paid in the world

A hard day’s work.
A hard day’s work.
Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
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Workers in Asia’s third-largest economy have little to cheer about.

Between the 2008 recession and 2016, India has seen real salary growth of a mere 0.2%, according to an analysis of post-recession wages in 51 countries.

During the same period, India’s GDP gain stood at 63.8%, according to the report.

Despite the country’s ambitious plans, India lags countries such as China and Mexico in creating high-value jobs for its 0.86 billion employable people, Hay Group, part of advisory firm Korn Ferry, said in a note dated Sept. 15.

“India has made less progress than some other countries in bringing high-value jobs to the country. This has led to poor job growth, therefore, an oversupply of un/semi-skilled people, and poor wage growth,” Benjamin Frost, global product manager-pay, Korn Ferry Hay Group, said in a release.

Indian workers also suffer from a massive disparity in wages—the highest among countries surveyed.

“Of the countries that we looked at, Indian wage growth was by far the most unequal—people at the bottom are 30% worse off in real terms since the start of the recession; whilst people at the top are 30% better off,” Frost added.

Here’s how India stacked up against other countries in terms of salary growth. China topped the rankings while Brazil’s performance was dismal.

This doesn’t bode well for a country with the world’s second-largest population.

India’s working-age population will reach 1.1 billion by 2050 to beat China’s, according to an April report by the United Nations Development Programme.

To tackle this issue, India is intensifying its efforts. Generating more and better-paying jobs is part of prime minister Narendra Modi’s electoral promise.

Korn Ferry’s analysis comes at a time when Modi is pushing for investments in labour-intensive sectors such as manufacturing to boost employment.