The Silent Pain of India’s Young Graduates
Millions of Indians are worried about the Poor and the Marginalised, which is necessary and it appears both the Government and the Civil Society are doing something about it.
But a new vulnerable class has been created in front of us and we are not paying enough attention to them.
Urban India Houses most of India’s Graduates. Over the last 3 years, some 27 million graduated from Colleges. This year too some 9 million will graduate. Even before the COVID Crisis, 9 million out of the 63 million willing graduates were unemployed.
There are three sets of problems for Indian’s Graduates
1. Hiring Slowdown
Hiring has slowed down substantially and many companies have frozen hiring for rest of the year. (Naukri). This affects all groups but particularly the youngest because they lack the experience to add value and the oldest because they would be very expensive. Most Freshers, this year are unlikely to find any jobs this year.
2. Lay offs
With Unemployment spiking from 8% to 25% in Urban India, there are massive Lay Offs which has not only affected daily labourers but also freelancers, consultants and other temporary staff. Many companies have not laid off due to Government directives but used other methods like Furlough/ leave without pay which could also translate to lay offs once lockdown ends. Younger workers may get impacted less here as they cost less but if there are skill based decisions, the youngest would be the most vulnerable.
25% of people on LinkedIn reported lower wages last month. (LinkedIn). Here, while the wage cuts will be certainly the lowest for the youngest workers but the savings margin for the youngest workers is quite low, pushing them into debt.
Overall, it is a challenging time for young graduates particularly those who are migrants, have to support their parents and/or carrying student loan/ other debt.
While we await a financial package, the Government (State and Centre) should consider setting up mental health helplines for Young Indians living in Urban India (and perhaps even older people) to tide through this very challenging time.