Education, skilling key for India to reap demographic dividend: Report

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A new report has once again highlighted the issue of high unemployment amongst India’s educated youth, pointing out that in 2022, the share of unemployed youths in the total unemployed population was 82.9%.

“Unemployment in India was predominantly a problem among youths, especially youths with a secondary level of education or higher, and it intensified over time,” said the India Employment Report 2024 prepared by the Institute for Human Development and the International Labour Organization.

India remains poised to take advantage of its demographic dividend with strong improvements in education levels, which are a key determinant of accessing better quality jobs, it has recommended.

The findings are significant given that India has the world’s largest youth population and stands to benefit from its demographic dividend for at least another decade. “This translates into 7-8 million youth entering the labour market annually,” the report said, noting that in the last two decades, youth have also attained higher levels of education compared to their predecessors. “Yet youth face challenges in accessing better quality formal jobs. The skills landscape in India has also undergone a transformation, with the impetus of filling the supply–demand gaps and skill mismatches,” it pointed out.

The report has also highlighted that the share of educated youths among all unemployed people also increased to 65.7% in 2022 from 54.2% in 2000. “Among the educated (secondary level or higher) unemployed youths, women accounted for a larger share (76.7%) than men (62.2%). This indicates that the problem of unemployment in India has become increasingly concentrated among the youth, especially educated youths and women in urban areas,” said the report, which was released on Tuesday.

Using the data from the National Sample Survey Office’s annual Periodic Labour Force Survey, the report also noted that the youth unemployment rate increased with the level of education, with the highest among graduates and higher among women than men.  The educated unemployment rate increased over the past 22 years, but with a sharp decline between 2019 and 2022. The unemployment rate among educated youths grew from 23.9% in 2000 to 30.8% in 2019 but fell sharply to 18.4% in 2022

However, in 2022, the unemployment rate among youths was six times greater for those who had completed secondary education or higher (18.4%) and nine times higher for graduates (29.1%) than for persons who could not read or write (3.4 %), it said.

 



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