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  • How India Moved Amidst The Covid 19 Pandemic The Migration Of White Collared Professionals

How India Moved Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Migration of White-Collared Professionals

  • Updated on: 10 Apr 2023
  • Published on: 25 May 2020
How India Moved Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic: The Migration of White-Collared Professionals

Compiled By: Balakrishnan Narayanan
About Bala: He is the head of analytics at Fibe, with over 15 years of extensive experience within the banking and finance industry. At Fibe he is responsible for building machine learning and analytical capabilities within the risk, marketing, and customer analytics. For Bala’s passion for solving complex business problems, in 2019, he got listed in the top 100 Data Scientists in Asia at Machinecon, Singapore.

COVID-19 has no doubt disrupted almost all economies globally, and the livelihood of millions of people across the world. Like any other concerned enterprise, we’ve been curious to know the precise impact of this on our customers, and their response to the situation. But simply drawing conclusions based on concepts and ideas could turn out to be a wildly inaccurate move. To paraphrase the distinguished statistician – Edward Deming – without data, we’d just be another person with an opinion. So we, at EarlySalary, figured that this would be an ideal time to conduct a study on how much this ordeal has affected white-collared migrant professionals (individuals moving to other states or cities for their job), backed by real data. It’d help us draw useful insights and conclusions on our customers, and position ourselves to serve them in better, quicker and more efficient ways. We decided to analyze our active customers, spanning across multiple industries in an attempt to understand how people working in various key cities from various industries have responded and reacted to the COVID pandemic. Here’s what we found:

Customer Demographics

Ours being a service for salaried folks, our study focused on salaried individuals primarily from metro cities, and other key cities – like Bangalore, National Capital Region, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Jaipur, among others. These customers were predominantly from 9 industries, namely: 

  • IT & ITES, BPOs 
  • Banking and financial sector
  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Manpower and recruiting
  • Insurance
  • Education
  • Retail, automobile and 
  • Online platforms/ startups

From the data we collected, we noted that the majority of the migrant professionals belonged to IT & ITES, manufacturing and engineering, and the automobile industries.

Here are some of the findings of this analysis

  • 22% of our customers were able to move back to their hometowns before the lockdown came into effect on the 25th of March 2020.
  • People moved all across the country: from an operational base of 19 cities, our customers have moved to over 200 cities.
  • Bengaluru, NCR, Pune, Chennai, and Hyderabad saw the most number of people moving away from the state. Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata retained most of their people.
  • Our analysis showed that young people, who are at most 25 years old, were the ones who migrated and moved the most. 
  • The migration rate of people who are 35 yrs or above is comparably less than half of that of 25 years or lesser. A fairly interesting trend.

City-wise Bifurcation of Customers’Movement Patterns



During this pandemic, customers moved out of the state, but primarily to other southern parts of India. The city also saw the most movement, which is likely due to most customers here being in the IT & ITES sector. Top cities of the movement included Mysore, Coimbatore, Chennai & Hyderabad.


The migrant movement happened only within the state of Maharashtra, to and from cities like Nashik, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Sholapur among others.


We observed movement to majorly towards the other Northern parts of India like Jaipur, Agra, Lucknow, and Kanpur among other cities but geographic spending is very large.


Movement from Hyderabad has been mostly within 100 kilometers and within state limits. 


Movement from Chennai has also been limited to southern India, although some movement across states has been noticed.

Our Thoughts

The age factor: It’s interesting to note that younger people exhibited a tendency to travel long distances during this period, as compared to relatively older folks. This may be because of the tendency of people to settle down and build a home in the same city as their work when they start to get older.

Localized activity: It is also interesting to note that a majority of the migration patterns are primarily restricted within set zones and regions. This points towards the tendency of people to not usually move to different zones of the country to seek job opportunities, but rather restrict themselves to one part of the country.

Sectoral insights: The IT & ITES sector features the maximum number of people migrating back to their hometowns. This may be, in part, due to the readily available option to work from home without facing as much hassle as some of the other industries. It also explains why cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad, home to this sector, witnessed the most migration. Similarly, this looks like an opportunity for these towns to now become smaller tech hubs or mini-hubs in days to come. On the same lines, lenders’ ability to collect will now need to be increased from key metros to now to the entire length & breadth of the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic has induced severe changes in customer behavior, business outlooks, and credit patterns. The primary priority of the customers will currently be necessities and essentials as opposed to lifestyle upgrades. While customers continue to work from home, and businesses across all sectors looking for a way to enable remote working in some form or the other, to the extent possible, it is highly likely that the customer base will no longer be concentrated primarily in metro or key cities, but rather tend to be much more diverse and spread across all over the country. To all of them, and everyone else too – the EarlySalary team is here for you, at your service.


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