42% Indian graduates under 25 unemployed: Report

The number of unemployed graduates under 25 was double that of youth with just higher secondary education in the same age category

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 26 September 2023

Amid economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment among educated youth in India remained high in 2021-2022, according to a new report by Azim Premji University. About 42.3 per cent of graduates under 25 are struggling to find work in India, it found.

The report also noted that the number of unemployed graduates under 25 was double that of youth (21.4 per cent) with just higher secondary education. The country’s economy has scaled heights since the 1980s, driving millions of workers away from agriculture.

Between 2004 and 2017, about three million salaried jobs were generated annually and it peaked between 2017 and 2019. However, the increase in job creation in regular wages has dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic slowdown.

Interestingly, the sudden dip in job markets is also creating new socio-economic trends. The Workforce Participation Ratio (WPR) is rising after witnessing a decline for years. Female employment rates have risen since 2019 due to a distress-led increase in self-employment, rising up to 60 per cent after COVID-19, the report noted.

Still, the earnings from self-employment have dropped to 85 per cent compared with the rates in the April-June 2019 quarter, the paper showed. The pay parity also becomes visibly clear when we consider socio-political factors of caste and gender.

Owners from the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories were under-represented compared to their contribution to the overall workforce. Firms owned by the SC and ST communities barely had more than 20 workers.

On the contrary, those from the general category saw an increase in representation corresponding to firm size. Moreover, the report analysed that SC and ST women workers earn 46 per cent less than what general category women draw in salaried work. 

The document was compiled using findings from official datasets such as the National Statistical Office’s Employment-Unemployment Surveys, the Periodic Labour Force Surveys, the National Family Health Surveys, the Annual Survey of Industries, and the Economic and Population Censuses.

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