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The Less Educated, The Better A Chance At Getting A Job: India’s Employability Crisis

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By Anjali Turani:

If you think India is at an advantage thanks to a population of 430 million young people, it’s time to think again. The fact is some 18% of 15-24 year olds are unemployed in the country. Moreover, over 32% of graduates and above are still looking for jobs. As a matter of fact, the less educated you are, the better a chance you have at getting a job.


The International Labour Organisation (ILO), in its recent report, has highlighted how the youth job crisis has been aggravated thanks to a weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013.

The graph below shows the trend in ILO estimates of global youth unemployment. This refers to people aged 15-24yrs. The global youth unemployment rate, estimated at 12.6% in 2013, is close to the 2009 crisis peak of 12.7%. As many as 73 million young people are estimated to be unemployed in 2013 worldwide. On an average, a young person is three times likely to be unemployed when compared to an adult!


ILO has urged its member-countries to proactively heed the crisis, and address issues like skills mismatch, persistence of over-education and under-education, under-skilling and skills obsolescence due to long unemployment spells.

A similar story is playing out in India as well. The population in the age-group of 15-24 increased from 190 million in 2001 to 231.9 million in 2011. And a recent report by the Labour Bureau on youth employment and unemployment (2012-13) says the rapid increase in the young labour force has not been backed by an equal growth in the job market.

There is no unique definition of specific age group which refers to youth in the country and neither does unemployed refers to those either in the job market or involved in education. The youth unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is as high as 13.3%. It can be clearly seen how hostile the job market is for the young. And interestingly, the unemployment rate for people above 30 is only 1 percent!


We have used the ‘usual principal status’ approach i.e. the major time spent by a person (183 days or more out of 365 a year) is used to determine whether the person is in the labour force or out of the labour force. A person found unemployed under this approach reflects chronic unemployment. (We have considered the age-group 18-29 for further analysis because of the minimum legal age of employment being 18 yrs.)

The distribution of the employed youth by the type of work in rural and urban areas shows that the majority are either self-employed or casual workers.

The report states the following reasons for increase in youth unemployment in India.

– Clustering of the new opportunities around the top end in the professional and advanced technical sectors and secondly at the bottom end in low-tier service industry.

– Decline in skilled jobs in manufacturing sector together with increase in demand for professional specialists and unskilled jobs in secondary and tertiary sectors has led to a situation where a large segment of youth either do not possess requisite skills and experience for new opportunities or are employed on part time or temporary contract basis. This casualisation of job has pushed young people to informal sector largely.

– Mushrooming of large number of unregulated private institutions conferring technical degrees and diplomas unsuited to the job demands of the modern economy.

In short, the widening of skills mismatch is compelling the young to find easier way out by resorting to self-employment. The Labour Bureau’s 2012-13 report states some interesting facts:
1. Every 1 person out of 3 holding a degree in graduation and above is found to be unemployed.
2. For graduates and above, the unemployment rate is significantly high at 32%
3. Uneducated are better employed than them; and
4. Unemployment rate is increasing with the increase in education level

Sector-wise, Indian youth contributes most to ‘agriculture, forestry and fishing’ sector. The following chart shows the sector-wise distribution of the employed youth. Labour force employed in ‘trading, repair of motor vehicles, transportation and storage, accommodation and food service activities’ (which don’t require much expertise), is greater than that involved in ‘construction’ and ‘manufacturing’.


The National Youth Policy launched by the UPA Government in January recommends increase in investment in youth programmes targeted towards education, skill development, entrepreneurship and health care. The ‘demographic dividend’ can be harnessed only with comparable growth rates of the economy. IndiaSpend’s own studies have shown a high correlation between youth voting trends and regions where economic growth is lagging. The present NDA Government has its work cut out for it, and high expectations to match.

This article was originally published by IndiaSpend.

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You must be to comment.
  1. DNS

    Just because you have a large population, does not mean that it is always an advantage. Remember for every pair of hands, there is a mouth to feed. In the absence of a welfare system like other countries in the world, things are not going to go well.

    Shame on the Indian government and the Indian mentality. This is the main reason for slowing down India’s progress.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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