Millennials have a history of facing rapid societal changes like the digital revolution and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many millennials came of age in 2008 and began their career during the most significant economic crisis since the Great Depression. Then, just a decade later, the covid pandemic wrecked economic activity and drove unemployment skyrocketing.
Before the pandemic, India’s unemployment rate had reached a 45-year high. Before the pandemic, government data, household surveys, and informal interviews indicated that the country was not producing enough jobs for its youth. When COVID-19 arrived in the country, even the few steady employment people began to lose them.
With their savings depleted and retirement funds depleted, this generation feels flashbacks, and new concerns for attaining financial stability in retirement seem complicated. However, the optimistic attitude of this aspirational generation is not discouraged by the pandemic.
Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) account for roughly 34% of the Indian population. Millennials are known across the world as the generation that owes more than it owns. For example, in the United States, lower earnings, more outstanding debts, and fewer assets have made this generation worse off in many ways than the preceding one. Millennials in India, on the other hand, appear to be unique. Millennials and post-millennials both believe they live in a more comfortable environment than their parents.
In March 2020, the Indian arm of London-based data analytics and market research firm YouGov conducted an online poll in India “to gauge the ambitions and views of India’s digital natives,” in collaboration with The Mint and the Delhi-based think tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR). The ‘Millennium Survey’ polled 10,000 people in 184 Indian towns and cities from March 12 to April 2 as a representative sample of the country’s younger workforce. They were unconcerned about the possibility of losing their employment due to COVID-19. They even stated that if they were dissatisfied with their jobs, they would resign even though the WHO had declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic the day before the poll began on March 11.
Young Indians were more worried about whether their employment would require “mental application” or provide a “work-life balance,” with those from small areas making it clear that they preferred tech businesses or start-ups. At the same time, high-earners predicted a 50% increase in five years.
It was the overall attitude of millennials before the adversities of the pandemic. The polls were performed in India before the pandemic’s effects on the local job market were apparent. COVID-19 struck India in late February, prompting a nationwide lockdown on March 25 and the start of layoffs only in April, according to statistics from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). Around this time, people began to realize the seriousness of the situation. Indians viewed the pandemic as an economic problem rather than a health issue.
It’s not as if millennials were utterly unaware of COVID-19’s economic implications. Even while they looked optimistic about their careers, a joint poll by YouGov, Mint, and CPR in March-April found that one in four young Indian people were opposed to marriage and establishing a family of their own. According to the surveyors, this hesitancy resulted from financial instability caused by the pandemic.
Because of this financial instability, millennials turned to online classes to improve their skills. Even though the hiring rate went down, the millennials found different ways to tackle it.
In a poll conducted by the Economic Times in early May, this percentage was considerably higher, at over 60%. “Those with a job experience of 10-14 years were among the responders who were upskilled during the lockdown,” it added. This would put them between the ages of 36 and 40. They appear to be investigating different options as time goes on, taking into account the disease’s economic ramifications.
According to LinkedIn’s Labour Market report, India’s hiring rate fell to 17% year over year in December 2020, indicating a decline in employee trust. While the employment situation appears to be gloomy, the Jobs Market Update highlights India’s rising entrepreneurship. From January to December 2020, the number of users holding the title “founder” or “co-founder” on their LinkedIn profiles increased by 10%.
Millennials are experimenting with new investment strategies. As a tech-savvy generation, they are using FinTech (finance and technology) platforms to improve their finances because FinTech companies are innovating products that suit millennials’ needs. Fintech companies are gaining traction in this industry by appealing to millennials, with 60-70 percent of their customers being first-time investors.
There is a better knowledge of when and how credit should be used. Fintech startups have made getting a loan simpler, faster, and more frictionless than ever before. These businesses are also teaching this generation how to properly handle their money. Millennials are interested in new investment options such as cryptocurrencies, and Fintech firms are assisting them in understanding and investing in it.
Millennials also showed interest in real estate. According to Anarock (a real estate agency), a consumer sentiment study from April 20 to 27 in 2020 revealed that millennials are interested in purchasing a home. While 48% of COVID-19 respondents thought residential real estate was a great investment choice, Anarock stated 55% of them were millennials, with 68% wanting to acquire property for their use.
The importance of health insurance plans was felt by the Millenials after the outbreak. According to a Max Bupa Health Insurance poll conducted in June 2020, 61% of those interested in health insurance preferred a plan covering coronavirus, up from 37% before the pandemic spread over India.
Even after the pandemic blues, the millennials are still hopeful for the future. According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2021 for India, 91% of millennials believe the pandemic has motivated them to take positive action to better their own lives. 91% of millennials have made steps to make a big difference in their community. Nine out of 10 Indian millennials (90%) believe that the developments witnessed during the pandemic will aid in the reversal of environmental degradation. Over half of millennials believe that people’s devotion to the environment would improve after the pandemic, a figure that considerably surpasses the global average.
In comparison to their worldwide counterparts, Indian millennials are significantly more confident that their country’s economic position would improve over the next 12 months, according to the research. Half of the Indian millennials believe the country’s socio-political condition will improve soon. Millennials in India are more optimistic about the pandemic bringing about positive change, particularly regarding the emphasis individuals place on their health and the ability to deal with future pandemics.