Educated youths in India face bleak job market

Young graduates face unemployment rates nearly nine times higher than those with no schooling, according to a new ILO report.
By: | April 2, 2024
Topics: DE&I | India | Mobility | News

Young people with higher education in India are facing significantly higher unemployment rates compared to those with little to no schooling, according to a new report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The report unveiled a harsh reality – graduates in India are battling a jobless rate of 29.1%, nearly nine times higher than the 3.4% unemployment rate for individuals with no schooling. Even those with secondary education are struggling, facing an unemployment rate of 18.4%, six times higher than their unschooled peers.

The report aligns with concerns expressed by economists like former central bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, who previously warned that India’s poor education system could impede its economic progress. The ILO attributed the high youth unemployment rate to a lack of “well-paying jobs” in non-agricultural sectors, leaving a growing pool of educated graduates without opportunities.

While India is not the only country facing this challenge, the scale of the problem is significant. In China, for instance, the youth unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds reached 15.3%, a sharp contrast to the national average of 5.3%.

Although the overall youth unemployment rate in India has slightly improved (82.9% in 2022 compared to 88.6% in 2000), the proportion of educated unemployed youths has risen considerably (65.7% in 2022 compared to 54.2% in 2000).

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The report further shed light on the gender gap, with women (76.7%) comprising a larger share of educated unemployed youth compared to men (62.2%). This issue is further amplified by India’s concerningly low female labour force participation rate compared to the world, estimated at around 25%.

The report also highlighted the challenge posed by the rise of gig economy jobs, characterised by temporary and low-paying employment opportunities. The proliferation of digital platforms blurs the lines between traditional employment models and self-employment, posing new challenges for employee wellbeing and working conditions, reported Bloomberg.