Workers aged between 15 and 30 years are five times more likely to remain unemployed and twice as likely to be under-employed
With a little more than 300 million working-age adults - those between the ages of 15 and 64 years - likely to join the country's workforce by 2040, India is slated to be the single largest positive contributor to the global workforce over the next three decades, the International Monetary Fund had estimated last year.
The state of employment of India's young population, however, is in stark contrast to the potential of the country's demographic dividend, which could add about two percentage points per annum to India's per capita GDP growth over the next two decades.
Only about one in four (26 per cent) Indians aged 15 years and above was employed full-time for at least 30 hours per week in the first half of 2012, polling firm Gallup has revealed in a new research, underlining, among others, the Indian economy's continued sluggishness.
The youngest section of India's workforce, aged between 15 and 30 years, are also five times more likely to remain unemployed, and twice as likely to be underemployed compared to their older counterparts.
Although higher than the 2010 payroll-to-population rate (22 per cent), which estimates the percentage of the entire population engaged in full-time employment, fewer Indians are working full-time now, compared to 2011 (29 per cent).
"This measure provides a clear-cut indicator of employment that is not affected by shifts in the size of the workforce and is highly correlated with GDP," Gallup's Daniela Yu and Julie Ray wrote. But clarified the metric "does not count adults who are self-employed, working part-time, underemployed, unemployed or out of the workforce as payroll employed."
When analysed across age groups, Indians between 15 and 30 years are "as likely as their older counterparts to be employed full time for at least 30 hours per week," Gallup data indicated, given that their payroll-to-population rate is similar to those aged between 48 and 66 years.
But it's not just a similar likelihood of employment, India's young workers also hold more full-time white-collar jobs than those aged between 31 and 47 years, as well as 48 and 66 years. "More than one in five (22 per cent ) young Indians who work full time for an employer report working in white-collar jobs, defined as professional workers in fields such as business or education, making them at least somewhat more likely to have these types of typically higher paying jobs than older generations of workers," the Gallup study said.
That may be the silver lining of the study, based on face-to-face interviews with approximately 5,000 individuals conducted between February and June but India's demographic dividend still faces the risk of dilution.