Young & Restless – The Real India

I recently had an opportunity to interact with a team of 400 + people who sell high-end phones. A young team whose average age is 22 – 25. Most are graduates – some even engineers & MBA’s. They come from lower middle class families, struggled in life, value money and are waiting for an opportunity to break out from the crowd. They work in excess of 10 hrs a day – 6 days a week and earn anywhere between 15 – 25 K / Month. And for every such job there are 20 applicants for 1 job. It’s scary.

India churns out 5M + graduates every year and over 1M are Engineers. Infosys this year will hire 16,000 and the IT industry as a whole may hire 100 – 200K engineers. That still leaves a lot of people unemployed. They end up taking jobs for which they are overqualified – and very soon get frustrated.


Take a look at the classified section of any newspaper – the only jobs available in the country are for Sales or in the BPO sector. The quality of education is deplorable and outside the top 10% of  colleges the quality is abysmal.

A recent report from Aspiring Minds states that 47% graduates are not employable in any sector of the knowledge economy. The employability of graduates varies from 2.59% in functional roles such as accounting, to 15.88% in sales related roles and 21.37% for roles in the business process outsourcing (BPO/ITeS) sector. A significant proportion of graduates, nearly 47%, were found not employable in any sector, given their English language and cognitive skills.

Business Line reported yesterday that 83% of secondary school students rely on coaching to pass their exams. 

I have interviewed MBA students for the role of Training Admin’s who can’t do basic maths that a class 7 student is expected to do. Many with means land up in Australia , UK post graduation – but with unemployment there in excess of 50% they come back to India and enter the pool for the entry level sales jobs once again. IIM Bangalore in 1993 had a batch of 140 – today they have a batch of 400. The 1 Lac tuition fee has become 15 Lac’s. So every batch generates 60 Crores – the student staff ratio has collapsed and so has infrastructure availability / student. The brand exists the quality has dropped.

So whats going wrong – The education system has collapsed , the job market has become a trickle. Quality jobs in the knowledge economy have almost vanished.


When you have 5 M people like this coming out every year – its scary. They have energy , aspirations , ability to work hard – but no visible goal or destination to which they can embark. They are the post 90’s generation – seen the benefits of economic boom , most come from families where they are probably the first to attend college. They carry a heavy burden to secure their future and also take care of the family.

The few who are employed in sales jobs are routed through a placement agency as contractors. There is no skill development / HR / hand holding. Its a long hard lonely struggle to figure out how to succeed. No wonder attrition is high and people jump jobs for every 1000 Rs hike they see.

As I saw these 400 high energy people , eager to succeed , hunting for that one break in life – it just made me feel how lucky the kids in the top 1% of Indian families are. The kids who live in the bubble economy – in gated complexes , born with a golden spoon , graduating to an iPad before you turn 5 , the best of schools & facilities , luxurious holidays, cell phone at 10  – these kids are going to struggle when they land up in the job market and face the other 99% who are just waiting to grab that one opportunity life throws at you. And when you see the determination in their eyes – you know that there is hope. These guys will succeed against all odds. They have energy & burning passion – all it requires is some direction and they are ready to take off.

Now you know why the AAP & Modi wave is catching traction – 10 years of mismanagement by UPA 2 has messed up the lives of millions , leaving them young & restless –  and now armed with a vote in their hand they are ready to rebel. Lets hope 2014 brings about the change we so badly need.

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One comment on “Young & Restless – The Real India

  • nagendra.s , Direct link to comment

    This is not completely true. you can not blame only the government but in most cases parents are also responsible. in many instances they are killing the talents of the young minds. do you think that if AAP or Modi comes to power will it improve. I think it is going to be worst.

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