Why are young Indians quitting the workforce?
Unemployment data from research firm CMIE, revealed that the overall labor participation rate (LPR) of our country fell from 46% to 40% between 2017 and 2022. That's when 21 million women permanently left the workforce. The report also said many young people have stopped looking for jobs altogether after quitting. Why are people leaving their jobs? And why are so many of them, women?
Being an employee at a company comes with a set of written as well as unwritten rules. You are expected to be in the office at a certain time and put in a set number of hours. Flexibility is a major concern. For women, the matter becomes even bigger since they are playing several roles and the support they receive decides their journey.
Explaining why young people are leaving their jobs, Dr. Sabyasachi Mitra FRCpsych Consultant Neuropsychiatrist said, "There has been a significant change in social, cultural and financial aspirations of young Indians, which has led to a changing pattern of people's job approach. "Now people are putting their health forward. The young generation wants a good quality life and a stress-free workspace."
When at work, women are expected to act like they do not have a family and the opposite happens at home. This unreal expectation is starting to get to most women. Talking about why she's considered leaving her job several times, a media professional says, "Trying to have it all backfires when you have a family and a demanding job."
"People might praise women for balancing both, but in truth, it ultimately affects us physically and mentally. Unfortunately, running a family requires money, so we end up making ourselves suffer," the woman professional further added.
"There are times when you feel the need to simply relax and not feel guilty about doing it. Leaving your job seems like the only way to do it," she adds. "Too much work pressure leads to depression and anxiety. The constant pressure to perform well and the expectation to be at your best makes life very stressful," explains Shroyee Malakar, a marketing professional.
Senior journalist Suparna Pathak says, "Younger people, who are earning less, can make the same amount elsewhere, so they don't want to continue jobs. "MSMEs are not paying enough to keep educated people on the payroll. "The employability factor is also important as industries lack skilled manpower. "As to more women quitting jobs, the industry is very unsympathetic toward women in general."
Further, our education system is churning out several graduates. All of them aspire to reach a certain point in their career, but due to too many people vying for the same job, they get caught in a rat race. They slowly realize that this is not what they signed up for and is leading them nowhere. This disappointment makes them quit, causing higher attrition.
"Today many professionals come from wealthy families, which gives them a financial safety net to quit and rely on parental wealth," explains Dr. Mitra. Not only women, but several men want to quit their jobs or stop working for companies. Several young professionals said they are ready to trade jobs in exchange for mental peace. This scenario is shocking and a wake-up call.
"Corporates must ensure training in stress management and create a positive environment to retain the young workforce. "Employers have to provide a happy working environment so that workers don't want to quit. "They must ensure employees have the liberty to complain about issues, without being rebuked. "Employers must be flexible in providing work-from-home opportunities and be liberal with leave sanctions," suggests Dr. Mitra.