The Modern Day Youth: A Post-Pandemic Generation that Joined the Workforce from Home

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Posted by: Aishwarya Bhatia
Category: Youth Day
Youth Day

The suffering that COVID-19 wreaked on millions of lives everywhere is lost on no one. So pervasive were its devastating effects that almost everyone in the world felt its destruction. One category among them was the youth that tried to enter the workforce during or after graduating from college.

Millions of people count on the youth to make the world a better place, but do we have what it takes to achieve this mammoth of a task? Are we equipped with the skills and motivations required to take on such an enormous responsibility? Do we, as a group, have access to opportunities to make it happen?

The answer to this question has become even more complicated in the wake of the pandemic.

While others may have thought it easy to graduate from home, the youth missed out on the experiences of joining the workforce “normally”. Among other things, we did not get to give interviews in person. We did not get as many chances as others did during “normal” times.

We scavenged our way to whatever jobs we could get to cope with the financial difficulties the pandemic brought upon everyone’s families. While it may seem like a very specific issue, the surrounding data will tell you how pervasive this situation has become. According to the data collected between January and April 2022 from a survey conducted by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, unemployment among graduates has risen to 17.8 per cent.

Of the ever-growing population of India, the youngest nation in the world, there are 17.8% of young people who, despite being qualified, are unable to get employed and earn a livelihood, let alone focus on building skillsets and living holistic lives. The problem does not end here. Those who managed to secure jobs struggled to get sustainable salaries with scope for growth into leadership roles. The objective shifted from deepening capacities and expanding growth areas to earning a salary that barely pays the bills.

Data from Labour Force Survey, 2019-20 shows that people earning INR 25,000 per month fall under the top 10% of wage earners in India. The widening disparity between such pay scales among urban youth makes one terrified to even think about the condition the rural youth must be trapped in.

Even if we were to focus on urban youth, statistics from ADP Research Institute show that 71% of 18-24-year-olds would consider quitting their jobs if asked to return to the office full-time. In India, 76.38 per cent of workers feel the same way.

Such staggering statistics lend substance to the growing anxieties of young people. Lack of self-esteem and confidence in one’s ability to compete among the millions hunting for jobs everyday has made them feel stuck in their situations. How can a person quit an exploitative job only to become one of the masses that are desperate for any opportunity to come by?

As if that was not problematic enough, people have also come to lack the soft skills required to excel at their workplace, making it extremely difficult to cope with the pressures of the corporate world. Going back to the office also means leaving the comfort of their home, a safe space built over the course of two and a half years, where they experienced their transition. While it may seem like the young are complaining about returning to the way things were, we must also understand that the world has completely turned upside down for most of us and the mechanisms we built to cope with them are difficult to leave behind.

Transitioning to in-office jobs carries physical difficulties as well. In addition to the stress of moving away from home for jobs, it also adds to increased living costs, including travel expenses, food, accommodation, and rent. The mental pressure of returning to the office after experiencing extreme isolation during the pandemic only adds salt to the wounds.

Doesn’t it all seem too dire? What can we do to motivate the youth and inspire in them the fire to aim for the stars instead of the scraps? How do we convince the young to believe in themselves just as we do in their ability to change the world?

Using the standard corporate jargon ironically, we must look at our youth as resources that need investments to bring profit to the nation. In other humanizing words, we need to inculcate within the youth the confidence they need by providing the chance to learn more skills, widen their capacities, and create workspaces that encourage growth and leadership.

As the nation works toward building itself back up, organizations need to put special emphasis on introducing policies that harbour healthy relationships within the workplace. TCS, for example, has introduced the 25×25 vision: the goal is to only have 25% of its total workforce come to the office for work by the year 2025. Hybrid policies that allow people to choose their place of work encourage flexibility and allow people to have a healthy work-life balance.

However, the crux of the problem is the lack of industry-relevant skills that enable the youth to secure better livelihoods. Many organizations have taken it upon themselves to provide skill-building courses that expand the employability of the youth, allowing them to enter the workforce with confidence in their abilities. Among numerous programmes enabled by the Government of India, there exist a variety of initiatives taken up by organizations across the nation to help the youth widen their capacities and grow into leadership roles.

Sambodhi’s work in expanding education and skill training is rooted in understanding the learning process. The work is done with a range of stakeholders to help decision-makers create an enabling policy and practice environment, thereby improving learning.

Sambodhi also has its capacity-building channel that helps people access classroom courses based on data analytics and research. Apart from adding value to the skill portfolio of the learner, these courses also enable beginners from any field to learn the basics of a sector where the employability rate is ever-increasing.

Thus, the portfolio needed for the advancement of our youth, the face of tomorrow, needs to be built urgently for our survival. Selfishly, we must work together to become the wind beneath their wings so that no one can deny them opportunities to change the world as we know it: always for the better!

Sources

https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/data-stories/data-focus/educated-but-no-work-covid-accelerates-unemployment-rate-among-graduates/article65643658.ece

https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1738163

https://www.cmie.com/

Aishwarya Bhatia 

Author: Aishwarya Bhatia

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