2020-01-24 Comments : 0
Indias youth Population & employment statistics – what factors affect the perception and the preparedness of potential jobseekers.
What is India's USP when it comes to the employment industry? We are the fastest growing economy in the world, and over half of our population is under the age of 25, which is indicative of a significant amount of growth potential.
In order to gain insight into the trends and wants of this demographic; to understand which skills and jobs India's youth wants, and to assess whether the current education system meets these aspirations, a survey was conducted by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation in 2018. More than 5,000 youth across India were surveyed.
The study shows that young Indians are ambitious and exhibit greater autonomy in their career decisions. They are aware & recognise the importance of changing skill requirements and are eager to pursue higher education, undergo additional training and enrol in skill development programmes.
At the same time, they face several difficulties that prevent them from adapting effectively to the changing nature of work; while impeding progress in their career path.
The survey's insights can attempt to define policies and strategic action at will ensure that India's young people transition smoothly from education to economic activity. Here are some key findings:
1. Indian youth are growing independent, optimistic and open to a changing labour market
An increasing degree of openness towards alternative forms of employment is visible from the responses - the subsisting tendency of pressure by family and influence of peers on the career and educational choices of India's youth is heading downward.
Potential jobseekers are increasingly seeking productive employment
opportunities and career paths that reflect their individual aspirations.
Nearly half of the respondents credited their own interest in the selected field of interest compared to 19% who were influenced by their families. Interestingly, a third reported being interested in entrepreneurship; with around 63% of them being highly or moderately interested in supplementing their income with gig work. These numbers indicate a great degree of change in how a future career is being selected.
2. More guidance and career counselling is needed
Many of the respondents, amongst other factors; two major ones act like a barrier to finding desirable and suitable job opportunities:
• Information asymmetries on jobs and skills available
• Lack of guidance on setting realistic career goals and making professional choices
More than half of them said that a lack of information and awareness about available job opportunities which matches their skill sets was a significant barrier. Lack of access to any kind of counselling or mentoring opportunities in various fields was reported by 30%, while 44% held this factor as a key reason for the demand-supply mismatch.
To improve career choices for employable youth, greater access to career counselling and mentoring services are needed, to address the gap between skills and aspirations.
3. Higher education and skills development are sought after
Aspirations to a higher degree in education was reported by nearly ALL of the respondents (97%)! Which included 84% who consider a post-graduate degree as a requirement for their ideal job.
With emphasis on ongoing education, 76% of youth reported a clear interest in participating in a skills development programme; the primary motivator for increased employment opportunities and higher wages.
However; the reality of situation is starkly in contrast - less than 3% of the nation's total working population is vocationally or professionally trained, compared to 60-70% in developed nations.
India needs to leverage the potential of the youth; ending the acute lack of awareness of available government-run skill development programmes, and support the proliferation of high-quality education and training opportunities.
These programs needs to be made relevant, affordable and accessible to every class of youth to increase the uptake in the same.
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4. The private sector needs to do more to bridge the skills gap
India's employable youth is faced with a paradox: despite significant youth unemployment, the private sector complains of a lack of adequately skilled and market-ready workers; which in fact can be addressed by the private sector playing a more active role in enhancing the capabilities and skills of these youth.
Training initiatives that can be conducted by the private sector
need to be demand-driven and ensure they impart skills that match industry requirements.
These programmes can be supplemented with activities geared towards career guidance aided by industry professionals - for example talks, seminars and industrial/workplace visits.
5. India's socio-cultural norms add further complexity
One of the biggest takeaway from the study 34% of the surveyed youth report that discriminatory and personal biases related to their marital status, gender, age or family background are a major barrier when looking for a job. 82% of female respondents said their ideal employment would be full-time, disproving the stereotype that women prefer part-time jobs. Similarly, despite the persistent view that household work and unpaid work are suitable and desirable for women, only 1% of surveyed female youth report this as being a desirable option for them.
As the nature of work changes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, existing gender-based biases are likely to widen if dedicated policies and initiatives are not implemented to address them.
Efforts are needed to reduce rather than replicate the biases of today in the future workspace.
6. Social Media and the internet can play a bigger role in effective job-hunting
81% of survey respondents rely on media and internet sources for obtaining information about employment opportunities. This is particularly insightful in light of the finding from the Future of Work, Education and Skills Survey which reveals that just 14%t of surveyed firms reported using online recruitment channels.
The prevalence of social media and internet use among India's youth presents an
opportunity to expand their awareness about education pathways, employment opportunities, skill needs, and available skill development programmes.
For 63% of the respondents, a good salary is the most important criteria for choosing a job.
The perception of higher pay and job security is a prevailing factor in a majority of Indian youth who have been taught to prefer to work in the public sector; exhibiting scepticism for unconventional employment options like gig work and self-employment.
Getting access to information on the changing labour market and emerging job roles through internet can help break these fixed mind sets and drive young Indians' progress towards
diverse professional and educational pursuits.
Some positive trends are in place already - such as the Indian government's Start Up India initiative to boost entrepreneurship; the launch of the Skill India mission; the establishment of a dedicated Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship; the establishment of industry-led sector skills councils, and the overhaul of the Industrial Training Institutes.
While these initiatives indicate the Indian government's commitment to skilling initiatives, it is imperative to devise specific strategies that address the schism between youth employment preferences and labour market realities. As the nature of jobs and work changes with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this gap is likely to widen. Moving forward, collaborations between various government agencies and ministries, the private sector, academic experts, training organizations, civil society and youth themselves will be critical for enhancing young India's potential. Our ability to meet the next generation's aspirations is crucial in boosting labour productivity and driving inclusive growth.