The coronavirus pandemic has significantly left an impact on the performance of companies across the universe and has made an impact on the entire generation. India is not so different as it seems to impact the youth in one go. The virus may not be discriminatory in who it strikes, but its social and economic consequences are discriminatory. The well-heeled have no worries about their finances or the future. For the rest, it is an every-day struggle.
The youth of this generation are likely to undergo a global underemployment challenge during this lockdown. It is a very disheartening fact that the lockdown has seen a huge impact on the younger generation as they are three times more likely to be jobless than the elder adults. The young people who have invested in higher education are already finding it increasingly hard to find work. India’s unemployment rate rose to 6.1% in the 2017-18 fiscal year, the highest level in 45 years. The pandemic has made the issue even more acute.
Globally, young workers tend to occupy low-skilled, entry-level positions. Over the years the young generation has over-represented in sectors like retail, hospitality, and tourism, which have been badly hit due to the lockdown and social distancing norms, according to the Atlantic Council think-tank. The impact of the lockdown has been severe as the generation next has experienced job losses.
According to one of the latest reports of ILO, it was estimated that more than one in six young people – roughly 17 percent – have lost their jobs since the lockdown started. India seems to be a bigger hit in impact as the proportion of young jobless workers is higher.
In India, the young generation falls in the age group of 15-29 years. However, it has been seen that most of them have less than secondary education or are illiterate, while only 13 percent are graduates. Also, most of the youth who are educated have poor employable skills. The government needs to introduce some policies for the lockdown so that the generation is benefited. Some policy interventions could improve the odds for the young generation – i.e., skills training, vocational training initiatives, public works, start-up entrepreneurial credit, wage subsidies, unemployment benefits. Through these measures, the generation might be able to cope up with the lockdown and the impact might not be so miserable.