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29th March 2024 (12 Topics)

Jobs Outlook Bleak

Context:

A recent report by the Institute for Human Development/International Labour Organisation highlights concerning trends in youth employment in India, signalling a potential waste of the country's demographic dividend without immediate policy interventions.

Grim Youth Employment Scenario:

  • Unemployment among Educated Youth: There is a significant rise in unemployment among educated young people, with the proportion of unemployed individuals with secondary education or higher nearly doubling since 2000. Surprisingly, graduates face a much higher unemployment rate compared to those with lower levels of education, indicating a mismatch between job aspirations and available opportunities.
  • Quality of Education and Job Criteria: The findings underscore shortcomings in both job availability and the quality of education in India. Despite pursuing higher education, a large segment of the youth remains unqualified for job roles, highlighting the need for reforms in education and training programs to align with industry requirements.
  • Stagnating Wages and Economic Outlook: There persists stagnating wages and a bleak economic outlook for the youth. Wage growth has either stalled or declined, exacerbating the challenges faced by young job seekers in securing better-paying employment opportunities.

Closing Window of Opportunity:

  • Declining Youth Population Share: India's window to harness its sizable youth population for socio-economic gains is rapidly closing, with the share of young people in the population projected to decline by 2036. This demographic shift underscores the urgency for immediate policy interventions to address youth unemployment and underemployment.
  • Gender Imbalance and Informal Employment: The report also highlights significant gender imbalances in labor force participation rates, with women's participation significantly lower than men's. Moreover, a vast majority of workers are engaged in informal jobs, indicating a lack of comprehensive policies to promote formal employment and ensure decent working conditions.
  • Need for Policy Focus: The report emphasizes the necessity for a concerted policy vision aimed at creating better job opportunities and improving the quality of education and training for India's youth. As the country enters the election cycle, policymakers must prioritize addressing youth employment challenges to realize the full potential of India's demographic dividend.
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