To meet its ambitious economic growth goals, India will need to embrace its evolving workplace demographics.
By Marta Chmielowicz
India’s economy is experiencing a moment of transformation as it faces technological growth, government investment, globalisation, and demographic changes in its workforce. Home to the world’s largest population of youth, with over 600 million people under 25 years old, the country is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is aiming to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025—up from $2.7 trillion in 2019.
According to PeopleStrong’s India Skills Report 2020, millennials (aged 18 to 35) contribute nearly half of the country’s working population (47%) and will likely remain the largest segment of the workforce for the next 10 years. In order to meet its growth goals, India will need to ensure that it offers sufficient opportunities to these workers as well as the skills to seize these opportunities. This is particularly essential as the survey notes that only about 46% of students were found to be readily employable. Further, results show that:
- 86% of students are well-equipped with the information to make better career choices;
- 40% have concerns about the ambiguity of the information they are given and information overload; and
- 65% claim they require skills training and internship opportunities to make better career choices.
To prepare the millennial and Generation Z workforce for the future, India will need to make significant investments in formal training. Currently, India’s formally trained workforce stands at 2.3% compared to economies like South Korea which trains 96% of its workforce. Reskilling and upskilling initiatives will be needed to prepare employees for the tech-driven roles needed as the world continues to adopt artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data.
The country will also need to encourage female participation in the workplace if it intends to get ahead as a global powerhouse. Women constitute nearly half (48%) of India’s population, but only 23% participated in the workforce in 2018, placing India among the 10 countries with the lowest female labour force participation rates. Further, nearly 50% of working women have been exiting their corporate jobs at junior and mid-senior levels, making India the second-lowest country in terms of women in senior management.
Social stereotypes and gender norms binding women to the home; lack of safety measures contributing to instances of sexual abuse or violence; and a higher proportion of women opting for extended education rather than entering the workforce are just some of the key factors contributing to women’s poor labour force participation. To close the gap, organisations in India will need to restrategise their approach to gender diversity, adopting policies like:
- flexible work hours;
- upskilling programmes for senior roles;
- mentorship for career growth; and
- offering free childcare services.
With survey results showing that 47% of women are immediately employable compared to 46% of men, encouraging female participation in the workforce is a massive opportunity to expand the skilled labour pool.