Job market has been in the doldrums due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it has been harsh for experienced candidates, new applicants have found it to be particularly difficult to crack. According to a survey by LinkedIn, 7 in 10 or 70 per cent of job applications by Gen Z were rejected or cancelled amid the second wave. As a result of this 90 per cent of Gen Z applicants ended up being demotivated. The study focussed on Gen Z in the age group 18-24 years.
LinkedIn’s ‘Career Aspirations Gen Z India’ looks into how the pandemic affected careers and education plans of India’s youth. The report found that 72 per cent students and 65 per cent Gen Z Indians were professionally impacted during the second wave.
As much as 70 per cent of Gen Z job applications did not get a positive response even after long waiting periods. A similar proportion said that their applications were either cancelled or delayed indefinitely. Due to such setbacks, 90 per cent of Gen Z applicants found themselves demotivated. They said that ‘fewer opportunities’, followed by ‘slower recruitment’ and ‘higher competition’ were the top three roadblocks to get ahead in their career amid the pandemic.
Internship opportunities had also greatly reduced amid the second wave, said 72 per cent of the students. Among the employed, 32 per cent experienced a pay cut, while 25 per cent lost a job.
The pandemic has disrupted the education plans of nearly 75 per cent, the study found. As many as 40 per cent of the ones with higher academic aspirations have postponed or cancelled their plans.
The LinkedIn study revealed that every fifth Gen Z Indian has moved to another learning programme than originally planned. As much as 85 per cent of Gen Z Indians are willing to take up learning despite issues such as ‘distractions at home’, ‘connectivity issues’, and ‘limited interaction with peers’. Gen Z look for quality of faculty (58 per cent), affordability (56 per cent), and accessible content (52 per cent) when finalising on an online course.
As work experience remains a challenge, 51 per cent of Gen Z Indians want employers to make skill-based hires. They are also focussing on upgrading their skills to improve self confidence (47 per cent), widen career opportunities (45 per cent), and fast-track growth (34 per cent) and productivity (32 per cent).
The survey has found that 2X more Gen Z Indians (60 per cent) are learning the top five soft skills -- creative thinking, problem solving, time management, leadership, and effective communication -- as against 30 per cent who are learning the top five soft skills -- data science, marketing, engineering, financial management, and AI & automation.
More than half (52 per cent) Gen Z Indians want organisations to offer flexible schedules, more time off for upskilling (48 per cent) and equal access to physical and emotional healthcare provisions (48 per cent).
Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn said, “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. 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.”
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