India | Youth | 22nd September 2021 | Virtual Wire
Picture -youth networks
As the fastest growing economy today, India is home to a fifth of the world's youth. Half of its population of 1.3 billion is below the age of 25, and a quarter is below the age of 14. India’s young population is its most valuable asset and most pressing challenges.
It provides India with a unique demographic advantage. But this opportunity will be lost without proportionate investment in human capital development. At the same time, the world today is more dynamic and uncertain than ever before. As India undergoes rapid and concurrent economic, demographic, social and technological shifts, it must ensure that its growth is inclusive and is shared by all sections of the society. India will not be able to realize its true growth potential its youth is not able to participate adequately and productively in its economy.
What does the youth want?
Indian youth are independent, optimistic and open to a changing labour market. The influence of family and peers on the career and educational choices of India's youth is in decline. Young people are increasingly seeking productive employment opportunities and career paths that reflect their individual aspirations. Around half of the respondents cite interest in their field of study as the primary reason for their choice, while 19% report being influenced by their families. Moreover, a third of the respondents report being interested in entrepreneurship, and 63% report being highly or moderately interested in supplementing their income with gig work. This shows a degree of openness towards alternative forms of employment.
Young Indians are interested in pursuing higher education and skills development
84% of respondents consider a post-graduate degree as a requirement for their ideal job, while 97% aspire to a degree in higher education. They are also keen on other forms of ongoing education, with 76% of youth reporting that they are very interested in participating in a skills development programme. Increased employment opportunities and higher wages are the main motivators for this goal.
This contrasts with the fact that less than 3% of the country’s total working population is vocationally or professionally trained, compared to between 60-70% among developed countries. India must leverage the optimism of its youth and support the proliferation of high-quality education and training opportunities. At present, there is an acute lack of awareness of available government-run skill development programmes. There is also significant scepticism about their quality and relevance. In ord