Occupational structure This refers to the aggregate distribution of occupations in society, classified according to skill level, economic function, or social status. The occupational structure is shaped by various factors: the structure of the economy (the relative weight of different industries); technology and bureaucracy (the distribution of technological skills and administrative responsibility); the labour-market (which determines the pay and conditions attached to occupations); and by status and prestige (influenced by occupational closure, life-style, and social values). It is difficult to attach causal primacy to any one of these factors; moreover, their role in shaping the occupational structure changes over time, as society changes. For example, during the early phase of European industrialization, the dominance of manufacturing made for a preponderance of manual occupations, while in recent times the shrinking of this sector, together with the growth in services, has made for an expansion of white-collar occupations. The distinction between manual and non-manual occupations has also become blurred.
The occupational structure is described and analysed by means of various classificatory schemes, which group similar occupations together according to specific criteria such as skill, employment status, or function. Such classifications are also used as a basis for the empirical analysis of economic and social class.
Occupation in any country can be broadly divided into three major categories. These are the building blocks of occupational structure meaning these different professions can also roughly indicate how expansive the occupational structure of a country is.
- Primary occupations of any country include agriculture, construction and animal husbandry.
- The secondary set of occupations includes the people who work in the manufacturing and servicing industries.
- The tertiary branch of occupations encompasses the part of the population working in communications, transport, administration and other remaining services.
Features of Occupational Structure in India
Dominance of Agricultural Sector
- Due to a considerable fraction of the population already employed in agriculture, other industries did not see a boom in revenue and this was one of the reasons why the Indian economy never rose to its heights during the pre-Independence era.
- The main occupation of Indian people was agriculture, which employed around 70-75 per cent of the population.
- There was no balance in the occupational structure. The primary occupations attracted more people, and so, the secondary and tertiary occupations never saw themselves contributing much to the national economy.
Growing Regional Dissimilarities
- At the same time, states like Punjab, Orissa and Rajasthan shifted their focus hugely to agriculture and have continued to do it even now.
- States like West Bengal, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra saw a significant number of people, previously working in the agricultural sector, moving away from it. They started working in other secondary and tertiary occupations, which then started to balance the unbalanced occupational structure of the country.
- This whole process helped the Indian economy to balance itself, with all sectors contributing equally to the economy at present.
Contribution of various sectors in GDP of the Country
- Agriculture & Allied Sector: This sector includes forestry and fishing also. This sector is also known as the primary sector of the economy. At the time of Indian independence, this sector had the biggest share in the Gross Domestic Product of India. But year by year its contribution goes on declining and currently, it contributes only 17% of Indian GDP at current prices. It is worth to mention that the agriculture sector provides jobs to around 53% population of India.
- Industry Sector: This sector includes ‘Mining & quarrying’, Manufacturing (Registered & Unregistered), Gas, Electricity, Construction, and Water supply. This is also known as the secondary sector of the economy. Currently, it is contributing around 29.6 % of the Indian GDP (at current prices) in 2018-19.
- Services Sector: Services sector includes ‘Financial, real estate & professional services, Public Administration, defence and other services, trade, hotels, transport, communication and services related to broadcasting. This sector is also known as the tertiary sector of the economy. Currently, this sector is the backbone of the Indian economy and contributing around 54.3% of the Indian GDP in 2018-19.