The title sounds contrarian doesn’t it. The worlds fastest growing economy , stock markets at an all time high , positive spirits all around – and yet the job market for the youngsters seems to be spiralling downwards rapidly.
In this Blog I am going to try and connect the dots between 3 things
- The economy – Job Readiness and availability
- The need for young entrepreneurs for self employment.
- A few radical solutions for generating employment and settling the restless youth
I have and continue to be an ardent admirer and supporter of this government and PM Modi. Its our last hope and the string of economic reforms, interest cuts, demonetisation, new initiatives have all been exciting – if all of this doesn’t get the economy and jobs pumping – what will, I wonder. Or is there a lag between policy and change on the ground – if so whats the gap. This gap better be bridged fast – well before 2019 or the backlash from the youth voters could be very very strong.
Let me share with you a few recent incidents of the last few weeks. These are real life incidents.
Case – 1 : A very bright young girl who has been a topper in her Under Grad and Post Grad Science programs goes on to do a MBA in HR from the Premier Management Institute – Fore School of Management Delhi (Ranked in the top 20 in the country), Is a Gold medalist in her MBA class – there are Zero campus placements for HR and she is actively hunting for a break.
Case – 2 : I was at the JetKing centre at Calcutta. JetKing is the country’s premier Skill development institute. I met a M Tech student who after 6 years in a premium engineering institute, with excellent grades at the age of 25 had enrolled with JetKing for a 1 year program hoping to get a job that would pay him a salary of 10 – 15 K ./ Month. JetKing graduates have great hands on skills in IT, Networking, Digital technologies – and he was lured by the thousands of engineering graduates who had managed to get a job after enrolling with JetKing. He was happy to settle even for a 10 – 15 K / month salary. (Thats comparable to what a Swiggy delivery boy earns and way less than what an Uber driver earns)
Case – 3 : While at Cal I caught up with a very bright young person who used to work as a free lance trainer in my extended team some time back. He was one of the best – sharp, intelligent , excellent attitude – an engineer with a few years experience, excellent communication skills. he took a break 6 months back and is now struggling to get a job. He says there are just no open jobs in Sales or Training. Attrition levels are almost zero and for all the tall claims we see nobody is really expanding the physical sales force – with a fast growing commerce market and everything including Training becoming Virtual and online.
We hear that 90% of Indian Grads are not ready for the Industry – but these 3 people mentioned above are in the 10% of very capable and competent people , Good technical skills , good communication ability , IQ levels well above average , excellent attitude – yet they struggle for a job in the worlds fastest growing economy.
Case – 4 : After these 3 challenging situations I saw a very different scenario when I met my daughters Chemistry teacher. Surya is in his early 30’s – an engineering graduate from Vishakapatnam Andhra University in 2005. Surya is one of the most sought after Chemistry tutors for class 11 – 12 in Bangalore. He visits the children at their house ( so they save a lot of travel time) – has a group of 5 – 6 students , takes long sessions of 3 hrs at a stretch and charges a princely sum of Rs 500 / student / hr. Compare this with the Rs 100 a month I used to pay 30 years back to a REC Durgapur Phd professor. But nobody is complaining – he is doing a great job , the students love him , the parents are happy that he comes home. Its a Win Win.
If Surya had joined Wipro or Infosys like most of his peers did 12 years back he would probably have been one of the thousands who were getting laid off – but thanks to his spirit of entrepreneurship Surya now makes more than 5 Lacs a month and the best part is – his day starts at 430 PM after school – he has the full day to himself.
There are many Surya’s out there who have ventured out to be self employed professionals and these are the people who are standing out in the challenging economy of today. If you are talented and smart – there are enough opportunities out there – but you need to find an avenue where people start running after you Vs you running after companies for jobs.
The meltdown of the eCommerce market has dried up whatever few job openings were coming. There is a blood bath in the IT industry and what we have seen is the tip of the iceberg – this will gain momentum as the crisis deepens.
However there is hope – there are 12 massive disruptions around the corner , the 4th industrial revolution is at our doorstep and can create colossal changes.
The next set of Wipro’s and Infosys will emerge in the coming years and the old order will change yielding place to the new.
These technologies are rapidly moving from the lab to touch the common may in their day to day lives… but there is still time for this massive change to integrate and drive the economy. The impact of this will not be visible to the millions of unemployed Indian youth before 2019. To them the Digital world is just a Smart Phone with an App on which you can transfer money or watch a Video.
I have one suggestion to PM Modi – like the demonetisation move it may sound tough and harsh – but thats the fastest way to get the employment engine going.
So here is what I propose
Pass a legislation to make the retirement age in companies Pvt & Public to be 50 years. People who have worked for 25 – 30 years are specialists in their area – they have savings , most have a Pension to fall back upon – and now they are the best equipped to take their expertise and become entrepreneurs. If they are pushed they will do it – and they will have a better chance of success than a raw 20 year old. This move will open up millions of jobs in months , it will reive the consumption economy as billions locked up in PF accounts will now become liquid in the hands of those retiring at the age of 50.
This may be the easiest and fastest way to get the young and restless gainfully employed and to rev up the economy to faster levels.
There is a second option – Universal Basic income
The next best option is to do a Universal Basic Income – dismantle the subsidy income and deposit 15,000 Rs / month to every Adult who has a bank account. I recently read that the cost of subsidy and its administration is comparable to giving every adult a 15,000 Universal Basic Income in this country. So the Govt doesn’t lose money, eliminates corruption and the middleman in one go.
Yes PM Modi promised 15 lac in all our accounts – he may as well make a start with 15,000 / month in our accounts from 2018.
Who knows this may very well happen – lets pray for the best.