The story of unemployable youngsters — growing unemployment in India

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Out of top 6 major economies of the world, India has highest unemployment rate. [reference]

United States — 4%

China — 3.9%

Japan — 2.4%

Germany — 3.3%

United Kingdom — 3.9%

India — 6.9%

As you can see the unemployment rate in India (6.9%) is almost double the average(3.5) in top 5 economies. If you are going to blame higher population density, it is not completely true. Because in today’s more growing Indian market, higher population also means more opportunity. See China for an example. The way in last decade Indian market is flooded with convenience based service startups, there is ever growing demand of both skilled and unskilled people. Even though unskilled masses are taking the jobs of delivery and support staff thanks to startups like Uber, Zomato, Dunzo etc it has not lowered the unemployment in last decade, in fact it has substantially increased in 5 years from a decade low in 2014. [reference]

So is it because there are no growth in opportunity for skilled jobs? No. As per reports [reference], skilled jobs are growing even more. However, the report also points out the lack of skill development in India, but that is a topic for another vast debate altogether. Let’s pick up a small case of IT industry. Almost a decade ago CEO of one of India’s biggest IT companies had said 85% of India’s youth is unemployable even after completing the degree. [reference] Even though you might argue that fresh grads are not supposed to posses great skill set as they are actually inexperienced, it’s counter intuitive to the idea of education. After all, for masses, the education is primarily focused towards career making and not just learning. Then what is the point of holding a degree when your prospect employer doesn’t see a value in you. However, it might bring your focus towards dated education system, but I want to bring to notice a different and underestimated reason altogether. The Indian mindset.

Even though Indian historical books have been describing the education system, gurukul, where focus was given on learning and not on grades, as a society we have somehow become obsessed with grades, during and after colonization. So much so that, even though people around the world have been recognizing the value of knowledge over the degrees, we are yet not ready to give up the concept of grades and marks. In fact we have taken it to another level. We even discriminate based on even what college one has studied in. This complete focus on institute selection and earning higher marks has kept youngsters devoid of any practical knowledge and basic understanding of market economy on real-world skills. Parents make every effort to keep their kids in comfort, so that he or she can earn more marks and get into top institutes. While this might help kids in process of launching them on right career trajectory, but the outcome is always untrained and clueless graduates.

However, there is more severe consequence of this mindset which we have been ignoring for so long. And that is, association or classification of jobs based on economical status. While trying to encourage their kids to study thoroughly, parents depict to the kids about several jobs as they are meant for some lowly creatures. Like “if you wont study you will end up as waiter or mechanic”. Even though we have been teaching kids stories about Abraham Lincoln with the moral that no job is small, but their this attitude has been continually instilling the segregation of workers among so called different “working class’ ”. This, resulting in further destruction of thoughts, impacts back on the future of youngsters. Because, due to this mindset, they keep their kids from taking any sort of ‘lowly’ job, like on a subway garage or McDonalds or any such jobs. That results in a youth who is only a distorted miniature replica of living library, but completely devoid of understanding of practical skills, real-world-problem-solving, self-learning, discipline and dedication towards respecting the deadlines, general economic literacy and many more skills that might make a fresh graduate “employable” in the industry.

In the west, many students, even Indians, happen to opt to such part time work, however, mostly to support their own high educational expenses, but in the disguise this makes them more prepared for their full time work. Even though today’s India try to copy most of the things from west culture, this part-time work concept is a total disgrace for them. At least so far.

But if you are looking to see a change in this situation, I hope next time when you see a young waiter at a subway shop, look at him with due respect, may be you are looking at a future doctor, accountant or an artist. Live by what we have been hearing since ages — no job is smaller.

Motivation behind the article: Even though I have been keeping a keen eye on the behavior of our society, yesterday a speculative report about a performance artist joining an infamous party had some disturbing implication on my mind. Because the news followed with the comments of people name calling the artist mostly disgracing her for her profession, though it might be because of her choice of party, but real reason is a mindset instilled deep down in our subconscious that impel us to think of certain professions with antipathy.

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