LinkedIn’s ‘Career Aspirations Gen Z India’ study by research firm GfK focuses on the insights of 1,000 Gen Z students and professionals in the age group of 18 to 24 years, across June 2021. The report, launched today on World Youth Skills Day 2021, captures their current sentiment, changing perceptions, and future outlook towards jobs, skilling, and networking opportunities. The study dives deep to understand how the pandemic affected the careers and education plans of India’s youth, and what barriers they face when pursuing jobs and skilling opportunities today.
The survey finds that nine in 10 Gen Z job applicants are demotivated after job offer rejections. Nearly seven in 10 Gen Z job applicants didn’t get a positive response after waiting for long periods, while a similar proportion said their applications were either cancelled or delayed indefinitely. When asked what they felt was the biggest barrier to get ahead in the pandemic, Gen Z Indians cited ‘fewer opportunities’, followed by ‘slower recruitment’ and ‘higher competition’ as the top three reasons affecting their job search today. Other barriers in pursuing job opportunities include lack of guidance for skilling and increased familial responsibilities due to Covid-19.
Seven in 10 students stated that internship opportunities had also greatly reduced during the pandemic’s second wave. Among those who are currently employed, 32% of Gen Z Indians experienced a pay cut while 25% lost a job opening because the company cancelled the job role due to the pandemic.
“As one of the youngest nations in the world, India’s future of work will be driven by Gen Z professionals, whose new-age skills can revitalise our economic recovery. But 70% of Gen Z Indians had their job applications rejected due to hiring challenges during the pandemic. Employers must treat this as a distress call to urgently reimagine how they hire and develop talent to prevent young professionals from being left behind,” said Ashutosh Gupta, India country manager, LinkedIn.
“At LinkedIn, we are committed to helping companies adopt a skills-based approach to hiring, and to urge them to hire for the future, not the past. An important part of this mission is to help companies speak the same skills language, encourage skills assessment, and build skills paths in tandem with learning paths to hire for skills,” Gupta said.
The second wave of the pandemic has also disrupted the education plans of nearly 75% students and Gen Z Indians. In fact, 40% of those with higher academic aspirations have postponed or cancelled their plans due to safety concerns, financial constraints, and travel restrictions.
A majority of Gen Z Indians are redefining their academic plans to cope with the changes at such a career-defining juncture. Consumer sentiment from the report shows that 85% of Gen Z Indians are willing to take up online learning, despite ‘too many distractions at home’, ‘connectivity issues’, and ‘limited interaction with peers’. When asked how they choose their online courses, more than half of Gen Z Indians said they look for quality of faculty (58%), affordability (56%), and accessible content (52%).
India’s young professionals are also sharpening their focus on developing the right skills to stand out in their job search. The report shows that 46% of Gen Z Indians are looking for mentors who can guide them towards the right skilling pathways.
Also, while tech skills remain a strong priority in today’s rapidly digitising economy, India’s youth is also recognising the growing importance of human skills today. Interestingly, the survey finds that among those who are learning soft and hard skills today, 2x more Gen Z Indians are learning the top five soft skills (~60%) than the top five hard skills (~30%).
The top five soft skills pursued by Gen Z Indians include creative thinking, problem solving, time management, leadership, and Effective communication; while the top five hard skills include data science, marketing, engineering, financial management, and AI and automation.