Rise of Off-beat Careers in India
In last couple of decades, there has been a silent revolution in India. Increasing numbers of youth across the country are trying out career options that would have been unthinkable for their parents. While the Indian economy has its hands full coping with the fading star of public sector undertakings, increasing private-public-partnerships and generating employment for its ever increasing youth population.
Passing the Torch to Open Minds
When the new millennium dawned on India, the country had already had its brush with liberalization and entire sectors of industry were deregulated and opened up to foreign players. To an extent, the Indian economy that was once a socialist cocoon is still opening up to a truly global mindset.
The current Government’s plans for the ‘Make in India’ campaign, and the high levels of support for start-ups in the country, stand testimonial to the shift from a job-stability mindset to an entrepreneurial one.
In the spirit of things the first wave of free-thinking careers have grown to include an ever expanding repertoire of new job descriptions such as DJs, fashion models, bartenders, theatre and dance professionals, graphic designers and animators, video editors, beauticians and even a return to farming (with fresh approaches such as organic farming and floriculture) have been witnessed.
Where earlier generations of Indians were accustomed to the typical career streams of doctor, engineer, civil services, lawyer or businessman, the current generation has created alternatives within alternatives and junked the mainstream for offbeat careers with gusto.
One of the reasons for this shift in career consciousness is the increase in youngsters who want to grow their hobbies and interests into a satisfying career and fully understand the risks involved in taking the path less trodden. The fuel to their imagination has been in the explosion of information that is available at their fingertips online that has given them the answers to their questions. Want to quit your job as a Assistant Manager and start an automobile workshop? You will find enough real-life examples, touch points, role models and if you are enterprising enough, your research can be the foundation of networking that is so essential once on the job. Given the information, the task of convincing reluctant parents becomes that much easier.
Sign of the Times
The job market has changed as well. Given that it has been statistically proven that in the space of their life, the current generation will have no less than three different careers, it is no wonder that everyone wants to keep a parallel career option open. Every year there are thousands of graduates armed with degrees and diplomas who enter the competitive workspace. Those who are more sensible earn their capital while working in another industry and save up enough to start their own line of business. Some venture overseas with nothing but the assurance of higher salaries and term insurance and life insurance to earn enough to return to India and live comfortably.
According to a report in the Economic Times, when surveyed, 85% of the current crops of millennials intend to stay with their current employer for less than two years before moving to another and 41% for less than 12 months. However, one wonders how many of them are actually clear about the risks involved in following your heart in career decisions given that as many as 87% said they were confident that if they lost their source of income tomorrow they could find equally good or better work within three months.
Need of the Hour
Keeping in mind that the salary growth in Indian jobs has just been 0.2% since the great recession of 2008, a direct outcome of not being able to generate higher value for the broad middle segment of the population the confidence of the millennials is both reassuring and worrying. However, in the job market, both emotions are equally valid at the same time. To utilize the large amount of available manpower in India, the Government hopes to draw in 500 million people by 2022 with the National Policy on Skill Development. Some of their hopes are based on the growth of the outsourcing industry in India in the last couple of decades, the rise of the startup culture and the fact that only 23% of the current workforce has experienced any sort of training.
If we take a look at the list of study programs offered by the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in the last 26 years of its running, you will find everything under the sun from aquaculture and fish farming and fisheries technology, air ticketing, creative writing, innovative and organic farming techniques, plantation management, Gandhian thought and philosophy, social work and rural development, gender studies, retailing, cyber law and information and assistive technologies for instructors of the visually impaired. If we take a step back and view IGNOUs offerings, it is clear that their offerings are tailored to the new age demands of the current job market scenario and the preferences of their 4 million students. Incidentally, that enrollment figure also makes IGNOU the largest university in the world, which is our case in point for including it.
Education in India may be comparatively cheaper in India but that does not make it less dear to any of the students who have invested their hopes and ambitions and sometimes their family’s savings to become earning members of society.
The population pressure requires that students maximize their learning while watching out for any unexpected interruptions or emergencies. If the student has taken an education loan, they have to pay it back in the initial formative years of their career. While all of them should, due to financial constraints, some students are unable to benefit from the safeguards of term insurance against accidents and illness since life insurance compensates the family members only in case of the untimely demise of the person. For now, we can only wait and watch the rise of offbeat careers in India and see how many sustainable income generating options will survive the changing times.