Let us make an in-depth study of Mobility of Labour:-

1. Meaning of Mobility of Labour 2. Types of Mobility of Labour 3. Importance 4. Factors Determining 5. Factors Hampering.

Meaning of Mobility of Labour:

Mobility of labour means the ability and the capacity of labour to move from one place to another or from one occupation to another or from one job to another or from ne industry to another.

It refers to alternative employment. Indian labour is less mobile because of ignorance, conservatism, caste considerations and due to lack of cheap and quick means of transport and communication.

Types of Mobility of Labour:

Mobility of labour is of the following forms:

1. Geographical Mobility:


Geographical mobility is that when a worker moves from one place to another within a country or from one country to another.

For example:

The movement of labour from Bangalore to Delhi or from India to U.S.A. is geographical mobility.

2. Occupational Mobility:


Occupational mobility means the movement of workers from one occupation to another.

This mobility has been further divided into the following two types:

(a) Horizontal Mobility:

Horizontal mobility is that in which there is the movement of labour from one occupation to another in the same grade or level.


For example:

A bank clerk joins as an accounts clerk in a company.

(b) Vertical Mobility:

When a worker of a lower grade and status in an occupation moves to another occupation in a higher grade and status, it is vertical mobility.

For example:

A mistri becomes an engineer or a teacher in a school becomes a professor in a college. This type of mobility is rather difficult. It requires superior intelligence, financial backing and a social or political push.

3. Mobility between Industries:

This mobility is the movement of labour from one industry to another in the same occupation in industrial mobility.

For example:

A fitter leaving a steel mill and joining an automobile factory.

Importance or Advantages of Mobility of Labour:

Important advantages of mobility are as follows:

1. To Worker Himself:


Workers who leave their village homes and goes to industrial centres or foreign lands are able to improve their prospects. They are able to raise themselves economically sound. By trying luck elsewhere, it is just probability that they may meet good luck. It has been said that nothing can be achieved without showing an advantageous spirit of life.

2. Helpful and Useful for Improving the Structure of Industry:

If labour is mobile they will be withdrawn from decaying industries and can be diverted to expanding industries.

3. Mobility of Labour Checks Unemployment:

Labour moves from places where it is not wanted to these where it is wanted. In this way, unemployment is reduced. The mobility of labour is beneficial not only to the worker himself but also to the nation at large.

Factors Determining Mobility of Labour:


The mobility of labour depends upon the following factors:

(1) Education and Training:

The mobility of labour depends on the extent to which Labour is educated and trained. Higher or more a person is educated and skilled. The greater are his chances of moving from one occupations or place to another. Geographical and vertical mobility is very much dependent on education and training.

(2) Urge to Rise in Life:

The inner urge of the workers to rise in life determines the mobility. If workers are optimist and broad minded, they will move to other jobs and places. Differences in language, habits, religion caste etc. will not be hindrances in their mobility.

(3) Means of Transport and Communication:

Well-developed means of transport and communications encourage mobility of labour. The worker knows that in case of emergency at home we can easily communicate with his family on phone or travel back by train within the country or by aero-plane if he is abroad.

(4) Social Set-up:


The mobility of labour also depends upon the social set-up. A society dominated by caste system and joint family system lacks in mobility of labour. But where the joint family and caste systems do not exist or have disintegrated family, the mobility of labour increases.

(5) Agricultural Development:

In a developed agricultural area or where there is agricultural development labour moves from high population to low population areas during busy seasons.

(6) Advertisement Relating to Jobs in Newspapers:

Advertisement relating to jobs in newspaper also helps and determine the mobility of labour. Advertisement help workers to move between places and occupations.

(7) Industrial Development Helps Mobility:

The mobility of labour is determined by industrial development. Workers move from different occupations and places to work in factories. Industrialisation also leads to urbanisation and workers move from rural and semi-urban areas to industrial centres and big cities.

(8) Development of Trade and Business:

The development of trade and business leads to the spread of their offices and institutions related to them in different parts of the country. As a result workers move from one place and occupation to another to work in trade and business offices, banks, insurance companies etc.

(9) Peace and Security in the Country:

The mobility of labour depends to a large extent on law and order situation in the country. If there is no safety of life and property of the people, then the workers will not move from their present place of occupations to other places.

Factors Hampering Mobility of Labour in India:


Indian labour is comparatively more immobile. India is a vast country and there are great differences in climate, language, etc. A Punjabi is almost a foreigner in Chennai or at Bangalore. These differences discourage in Indian worker from moving to a different place.

Lack of education and information about the conditions in other centres of work also stands in his way. It has been observed that labour is geographically not a very mobile factor. Adam Smith has rightly said that—”a man is of all sorts of luggage, the most difficult to be transported.”

Geographical Mobility of Labour:

Geographical Mobility of Labour is being obstructed by the following factors:

1. Social relations and social ties:

In India people mostly prefer to live with their families and friends, so they are reluctant to move elsewhere.

2. Geographical environment:


Sometimes, geographical factors like climate may also obstruct mobility of labour. A person from a cold region would not like to move to a tropical region and vice-versa.

3. Accommodation problem in cities are acute:

In industrial cities where accom­modation problem is acute, rural folk are reluctant to move there.

4. Monetary cost of movement:

If movement from one place to another involves a high monetary cost, such as high transport expenses and high cost of settlement, labour mobility will be reduced in such areas.

5. Political and communal factors:


To-day in India and else-where, political and communal weight on employment such as priority of local people has also hindered geographi­cal mobility to some extent. In India, especially to-day provincialism has inhibited mobility of labour further.

Occupational Mobility of Labour:

Like geographical mobility occupational mobility of labour is obstructed by several factors and they are as follows:

1. Age restrictions restrain people from moving:

Quite often age factor debar people moving from one occupation to another. For example- In banking industry when age limit is fixed for officers, a college lecturer, though otherwise fit for the job continue on the post, if he has attained the retirement age.

2. Difference in ability:

All labourers do not have equal natural efficiencies and abilities and this fact itself restricts the use of mobility of labour.


3. Job meant for particular sex:

The job in which traditional preferences are given to a particular sex, the members of the other sex will tend to be immobile to such jobs.

4. Long period of training and education:

There are certain professions such as those of doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors etc. involve a long training period and high education, as such cross-mobility among such professions in rare.

5. Trade unionism:

Strong trade unions when they succeed in forcing the management to promote workers internally as per seniority, outsiders will have a restricted scope of vertical mobility.