Mumbai: India’s urban youth remains overwhelmingly pessimistic about job prospects, shows a recent survey conducted by market research firm YouGov in collaboration with Mint. Over 70% of post-millennials and 65% of younger millennials think it is ‘extremely’ or ‘fairly’ difficult to find a job nowadays (chart 1).
The results of YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey are based on an online poll of over 5,000 respondents spread across 180 cities. Millennials refer to those born between 1981 and 1996, i.e., those aged 22 to 37 in 2018.
Besides finding a job, matching salary expectations remains another challenge for the younger generation. The survey reveals that most of those aged 21 years or below, and not yet working, expect a salary of at least ₹30,000 per month.
This is true for both—youth who hold at least a diploma or a college degree, and those who are high-school pass. However, the same survey reveals that working young millennials, aged 22 to 28 years, with similar qualification, mostly earn less than ₹30,000 per month (chart 2).
Thus, there remains a visible gap between salary expectations of the Gen Z and what is being earned by their slightly older peers.
The apparent weak job prospects are also corroborated by the consumer confidence surveys conducted by the Reserve Bank of India.
RBI data shows a gradual deterioration in urban people’s expectations and perceptions on employment (chart 3).
India’s “jobless growth” has been the most contentious issue in recent political discourse, with the opposition accusing the Modi-led government of having failed to create sufficient jobs in the country even as the government dismisses the claims as “political gimmick”. The issue in India is not as much about lack of jobs as it is about the lack of data on jobs, the prime minister claimed recently.
To be sure, there remain exaggerated claims of jobs growth and joblessness on both sides of the political divide. However, an examination of various data sources suggests that the pace at which salaried or regular jobs were being added in the economy is much slower than the pace at which such jobs were being generated even half a decade ago, argued a recent Plain Facts column.
Lack of adequate job creation could blow up into a major crisis as India is slated to witness a steady increase in its youth population.
Over 30% of India’s youth aged 15-29 years are ‘not in employment, education or training’ (NEETs), faring much worse than other major developing countries, said an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report released last year.
Interestingly, the survey finds that a larger proportion of Indian youth want to start their own businesses rather than look for formal employment. According to the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey, about 64% of millennial respondents said they have their own businesses, or have plans to set it up in a few years (chart 4).
While this may simply be a reflection of growing aspirations of young India, a reason why a larger number of millennials want to turn entrepreneurs could also be their dissatisfaction with the job market.
This is the second of a four-part data journalism series on India’s digital natives. The third part will examine how millennials spend their leisure time, and will appear next Monday.