72% students, 65% Gen Z Indians professionally impacted during Covid second wave: LinkedIn report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 15, 2021

Students and Gen Z Indians are often demotivated due to job offer rejections and lack of internship opportunities, respectively

The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has professionally impacted a majority of students and Gen Z Indians, according to a recent report by LinkedIn.

The professional networking platform has launched the ‘Career Aspirations Gen Z India’ study by research firm GfK that focuses on insights of 1,000 Gen Z students and professionals in the age group of 18-24 years, across June 2021 on World Youth Skills Day 2021. The survey focuses on their current sentiment, changing perceptions, and future outlook towards jobs, skilling, and networking opportunities.

Students and Gen Z Indians are often demotivated due to job offer rejections and lack of internship opportunities, respectively. As per the study, nearly 70 per cent of Gen Z job applicants didn’t get a positive response after waiting for long periods, while a similar proportion said their applications were either cancelled or delayed indefinitely. This has resulted in 90 per cent of Gen Z job applicants being demotivated.

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Gen Z Indians cited ‘fewer opportunities’, followed by ‘slower recruitment’ and ‘higher competition’ as the top three reasons affecting their job search today. Other barriers in pursuing job opportunities include lack of guidance for skilling and increased familial responsibilities due to Covid-19. Among those who are currently employed, 32 per cent of Gen Z Indians experienced a pay cut while 25 per cent lost a job opening because the company cancelled the job role due to the pandemic.

Similarly, 72 per cent of students stated that internship opportunities had also greatly reduced during the pandemic’s second wave.

Pivoting to online learning, upskilling

Students and Gen Z Indians are now leaning towards learning and upskilling amid these challenges.

The second wave of the pandemic has also disrupted the education plans of nearly 75 per cent of students and Gen Z Indians. 40 per cent of those with higher academic aspirations have postponed or cancelled their plans due to safety concerns, financial constraints, and travel restrictions.

Furthermore, 20 per cent of Gen Z Indians are now pivoting to a different learning programme than originally planned. “A majority of Gen Z Indians are redefining their academic plans to cope with the changes at such a career-defining juncture,” the report said.

The research further showed that 85 per cent of Gen Z Indians are willing to take up online learning, despite ‘too many distractions at home, ‘connectivity issues’, and ‘limited interaction with peers’. When asked how they choose their online courses, more than half of Gen Z Indians said they look for the quality of faculty (58 per cent), affordability (56 per cent), and accessible content (52 per cent).

Learning the right skills

To cope up with the current dynamic job market, India’s young professionals are sharpening their focus on developing the right skills to stand out in their job search. The report showed that 46 per cent of Gen Z Indians are looking for mentors who can guide them towards the right skilling pathways.

Furthermore, 51 per cent of Gen Z Indians want employers to make skill-based hires today, as work experience remains a challenge.

Young professionals are now focusing on upgrading their skills to improve their self-confidence (47 per cent), widen career opportunities (45 per cent), and fast-track growth (34 per cent) and productivity (32 per cent).

While tech skills remain a strong priority amid the accelerated digital transformation, India’s youth is also recognising the growing importance of human skills today. As per the survey, among those who are learning soft and hard skills today, twice the number of Gen Z Indians are learning the top five soft skills (~60 per cent) than the top five hard skills (~30 per cent).

The top five soft skills pursued by Gen Z Indians include creative thinking, problem solving, time management, leadership, and effective communication; while the top five hard skills include data science, marketing, engineering, financial management, and AI & automation.

Employee priorities change

With the current job market and the impact of the pandemic, employee expectations and priorities have also changed.

As many as 52 per cent of Gen Z Indians want organisations to offer flexible schedules while 48 per cent want more time off for upskilling. 48 per cent of professionals want equal access to physical and emotional healthcare provisions.

Beyond job perks, Gen Z Indians also want an inclusive workplace culture where employers communicate transparently (55 per cent), offer customised career growth plans (48 per cent), and make professional growth an experience, not a process (44 per cent). “As one of the youngest nations in the world, India’s future of work will be driven by Gen Z professionals, whose new-age skills can revitalise our economic recovery. But 70 per cent of Gen Z Indians had their job applications rejected due to hiring challenges during the pandemic,” said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn. “Employers must treat this as a distress call to urgently reimagine how they hire and develop talent to prevent young professionals from being left behind,” said Gupta.

Reiterating LinkedIn’s commitment to helping companies adopt skill-based hiring, Gupta further added, “An important part of this mission is to help companies speak the same skills language, encourage skills assessment, and build skills paths in tandem with learning paths to hire for skills. Skills are the currency for workforce transformation and the only viable solution to tackle the evolving workforce dilemma.”

Published on July 15, 2021

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