The United Nations has proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 2015- 2030) for the peaceful, prosperous present and the future of the stakeholder countries. These include 17 goals to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice besides tackling climate change by 2030. It may be recalled that there are about 2 billion youth (between 10–24 years of age) globally, out of which about 90% belong to the developing world. Young people have the potential, energy and drive to bring in the transformation in the social patterns and the policy initiatives. Empowerment of the youth with necessary skills becomes a major objective under the SDGs to make the world a better place to live.
In this context, the UN projections for the next decade foresee that “At least 475 million new jobs need to be created to absorb the currently unemployed 73 million youth and the 40 million new annual entrants to the labour market.” The picture becomes more complex when these projections are seen under the light of the surveys conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which states that the employers consider that many graduates are ill-prepared for the world of work. This feeling is shared by the youth as well, who consider themselves to be underprepared for the job market. Thus, attaining decent work remains a challenge, making the informal sector and traditional rural sector as the major sources of employment in many countries.
A National Sample Survey states that out of 470 million people of working age in India, only 10% receive formal training or access to skilled employment opportunities. There seems to be a huge gap between the demand and supply when it comes to skilled workforce and employment opportunities. This situation may prove to be detrimental to the national economy in the long run. The recent statistics reveal that this gap is widening in India with annual skilled workers demand and supply in millions is projected to be 10.5-4.1 % in 2025, respectively.
Data from BCCL shows only 5% of India’s workforce is formally skilled in comparison to other countries like South Korea (96%), Japan (80%) and Germany (75%), where this proportion is very high. There is an estimated demand for 128 million skilled persons in 34 sectors between 2017 and 2022. A recent report by Times of India also indicates that the top employing sectors in 2019 are banking, information technology, automobile, finance, mining, retailing, and healthcare. However, across all the sectors, the talent turnover rate is quite high. For example, in the retail sector, the highest turnover rate is observed amongst the retail salespersons, food service professionals and among the hospitality professionals.
The NSSO report further states that there is higher unemployment in urban areas (7.8%) in comparison to rural parts (5.3%). Unemployment is more among urban females (27.2%) in comparison to urban males (18.7%).
Thus, there is a need for an efficient skill-based training mechanism in urban areas. Taking Delhi-NCR as an example, there seems to be a need to reduce the skill gap by resolving the pain points of the youth coming from resource-poor communities between the age group of 18-29 years through innovative training programs which would empower them, so that they feel like an important part of society. Skill enhancement across urban areas should also focus on a strong mentor-mentee connect which would lead to a better relationship with their employers and would also create a stable workforce. Delivering experienced training to increase the cognitive capacity of the youth and improving the skill-set of the target group would further create a stable workforce leading to a higher employee satisfaction rate.
The greatest power of youth is that they can think beyond boundaries. –