A local government department in Chattigarh, India received 75,000 applications for just 30 peon positions. The roles only required Class V level qualifications, equivalent to the final grade of primary education. According to the Hindustan Times, overqualified engineers, arts and sciences postgraduates were amongst the applicants for these admin level roles.
The overwhelming number of applicants led the Directorate of Economics and Statistics to cancel the exam scheduled to select the applications.
The expansion of university education should have provided India’s graduates with greater opportunities for employment after their studies. However, according to figures from the International Labour Organisation, India’s youth unemployment rate (aged 15-24 years) increased from 10.2 % to 10.7% between 2010 and 2013. This was far higher than the adult unemployment rate for the same period which only increased from 3.5% to 3.6%
The likelihood of being unemployed is particularly high amongst young Indians with graduate degrees, living in urban areas. Unemployment is lowest amongst the illiterate population, as more are willing to work as labourers and in low paid menial jobs.
With India’s working age population is expected to increase by 24.4% by 2030, how will policy makers ensure enough graduate level jobs are available for India’s youth population? What changes are required in the higher education system to ensure students are adequately prepared for the jobs available?
Professor Jeffrey, an expert on India's unemployed youth at the University of Oxford refers to a "timepass" generation, with bored young graduates waiting for jobs, marking time and becoming detached from the world. Similarly, the ILO has expressed concern over a "scarred generation of young workers, facing a dangerous mix of high unemployment, increased inactivity and precarious work."
What impact will unemployment have upon the mental wellbeing of this population?
Will poor employment prospects create a brain-drain effect, with Indian graduates moving elsewhere to secure a job? Or will graduates turn to the informal economy and entrepreneurship to create their own job prospects?
Image credit: Harsha K R / Flickr
Hindustan Times (August 24, 2015) 75,000 applications for 30 peon posts, officials cancel exam