The surge in EPFO subscribers is not confined to any particular occupational sector and is a positive indication of the growing formalisation of the economy. Previously, a significant portion of the workforce operated in the informal sector, lacking access to social security benefits. The rise in EPFO subscribers from diverse sectors highlights the increased efforts made by the government and organisations to extend the social security net to workers in all sectors. A sectoral analysis of EPFO’s membership reveals that the largest number of members are in the expert services category which includes manpower suppliers, contractors, security services, and other related activities. In 2022-23 they constituted 50.9 per cent of the total membership, whereas their number was 54.3 per cent in 2018-19. Workers from the textiles and trading – commercial establishments formed the second and third largest share of membership in both years respectively, constituting anywhere between seven and ten per cent of total membership.
In terms of increase in the membership within a sector, building and construction industry workers recorded a jump of more than 270 per cent in EPFO membership between 2018-19 and 2022-23. This was followed by workers of the hotel industry. EPFO membership of workers from the industry increased by 263 per cent in the same period. ‘Engineers – engg. Contractors’ and garment making industries are other sectors that recorded a significant jump in EPFO between the same period.