Rohit Deshpande Wednesday, 17 June 2020

A downturn in the distance

Every month, about 1 million people enter the workforce in India. This includes Postgraduate students, Undergraduate students, High School pass-outs, and people entering as uneducated laborers.

Prior to the propagation of the pandemic, these young people were entering one of the most promising job markets in decades, as unemployment rates remained stable throughout the last 2-3 years.

However, as the country and the world have virtually come to a halt in the wake of the Covid19 pandemic, the job prospects of these people seem anything but promising. With the chances of a recession on the way, hiring freezes and mass layoffs have become the norm of the time. Even those lucky enough to find a job are not freed from the bane of this prospective recession. Research has uncovered that those entering the job market during a recession experience lower starting pays. Their pay was shown to catch up by their late 20s, but their wages fell behind again in their 40s.

Should you magically be untouched by the wage disparity of the recession, there are still a few woes awaiting you. A study found that those who entered the job market in America in the 1982's depression were more likely to die in their 30s and 40s than those who joined during better times. Although the group did not experience higher suicide rates, higher rates of liver and heart disease, lung cancer, and drug overdoses were the main contributing factor to these early deaths.

The same study found that young people who entered a job market during the recession were more likely to get divorced and have fewer children by middle age. The paper concluded that, "Our findings demonstrate that temporary disadvantages in the labor market during young adulthood can have substantial impacts on lifetime outcomes, affect life and death in middle age, and go beyond the transitory initial career effects typically studied,"

So is there no escape to this downward spiral of misery for people who are now entering the job market. Things may not be as bleak as they seem. Even though these trends are what is widely observed, outliers always exist.

However, if caught in the grips of this spiral, there are ways to mitigate the damage. Most important is to prepare yourself for a long and grueling job search, opportunities will be fewer so dig in for the long haul. Compromise will be the key to stability, compromising in the area of work or location can ensure a stable job, so until better opportunities present, be flexible. For those who can afford to, consider delaying your entry into the market, take a year or two to study further, or volunteer and make your contribution to society.

Prospects may seem bleak right now, but it isn't all gloom and doom. With perseverance and wits and a bit of luck, you will emerge from this crisis, just fine.