Year 2024 is a simpler year for predictions. In 2023, I got one prediction wrong, which was to do with the metaverse, though I still believe it will happen in due time. So, here are my five predictions for 2024.

1. The Indian economy will grow around 6 per cent next year while the global economy will grow close to 3 per cent. Most of the big economies will grow and the excessive pessimism around recession in 2023 in the US and Europe has luckily been wrong. India will continue its manufacturing focus. India will put a premium to push exports. India will want businesses like IT that earn in dollars with a cost structure in rupees unlike the airlines business that earns in rupees while its cost structure is in dollars. Inflation will be around 5 per cent led by commodity and food prices.

The Sensex will close around 80,000 by 2024 end. We saw 57 IPOs in 2023, I see more IPOs coming in 2024. Salary hikes will be moderate — between 5 and 10 per cent. The rupee has depreciated between 2 and 3 per cent CAGR against the US dollar for the last 20 years; this will continue in 2024. The wild card of 2024 will be the war in West Asia — it has the ability to disrupt supply chains and push up inflation and oil prices.

2. Politicians and marketers will do similar things in 2024 — a) Both will run freebies and promotions to entice the consumer; b) Both will use celebrities; and c) Both will run short-format advertising to drive messaging. Marketing has hit its trough in 2023 and it needs brave thinkers to reverse the trend. I see more of the same from marketers in 2024 and they are hurting their brands with an overdependence on celebrities and price cuts/promotions. In 2024 electioneering will get more abusive and, as a result, India in general will get more abusive as citizens emulate their leaders. Will the 2024 election force us to change our libel laws?

3. India has not been able to provide significant full-time employment to women. . Indian society still values women for their primary roles of mothers and homemakers. Women are more educated than before, and we have a digitally evolved housewife. The housewife is outsourcing what society once saw as her core job — making food, birthday party management, dropping kids to school, education and so on. She is doing so without the associated guilt of the past.

Housewives today are smart digital moms without going through the kitchen hassle and mundane chores of the past. They will experiment with ready-to-eat food, ready-to-cook and son on. This will grow the packaged ingredients business and packaged food delivery businesses. The housewife will instinctively calculate the value of her time in making such decisions. The Indian housewife will be the ultimate ‘Make Vs Buy’ decider in 2024 and shed her old perceived role of kitchen goddess.

4. Employees should be concerned in 2024 — it will be a tough job market; opportunities will be fewer and hiring managers will take their own sweet time to return calls. So, hold on to your job till you get something good. This is not a year to take big career risks. Most employees will upskill themselves with generative AI and it for making notes, presentations and summarising key documents. As a result of Gen-AI, we will see significant productivity increases at work in companies. We will see multiple Gen AI courses in the market from every reputed institute. Employees will prioritise job security in 2024.

5. On the flip side, Indian employers will pick and choose talent in 2024. Employers will augment for new skill sets like sustainability, ecology, consumer technology and anything to do with AI. CEOs will be worried about the disruptive nature of techhnology in their markets. They will get into transformation mode in 2024. All companies will need to transform on cost and ways of working like never before. No amount of cost cutting will be safe enough to be competitive and the old ways of hierarchy, authority, legacy will need to give way to a more capability and agility-focused organisation. This will be tough and difficult for most CEOs.

(Shiv Shivakumar is Operating Partner at Advent International)