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MUMBAI: Indian professionals, particularly Gen Z and working women, have been left more vulnerable to economic uncertainties and the evolving job market in the aftermath of the second wave of the pandemic, according to a LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index.

The latest edition of the LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Index, based on survey responses of 1,891 professionals from May 8 to June 4, shows that India’s overall workforce confidence declined after peaking in early March, with a composite score of +54 today (down 4 points from +58 in March).

This dip in confidence is reflected strongly across professionals from creative industries such as entertainment, design, and media & comms, who expressed being uncertain about the future of their employers. But as lockdown curbs ease, professionals from software & IT and hardware & networking are growing increasingly confident about the future of their organisations.

“As India slowly begins to come out of the second wave of Covid-19 cases, we see the year-over-year hiring rate recover from a low of 10% in April to 35% at the end of May," said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn, adding that despite this modest revival, confidence levels of working women and young professionals are amongst the lowest in the workforce today.

"Twice as many working women are concerned with job availability compared to working men, and 30% of Gen Z professionals worry due to lack of jobs. Remote jobs can be the ray of hope, to provide the much-needed flexibility and growth in opportunities to help them bounce back into the workforce," Gupta added.

The plight of India’s working women has worsened after the second covid-19 wave, as the individual confidence index (ICI) scores of female professionals fell from +57 in March to +49 in early June ー a 4times decline compared to working men (+58 in March to +56 in June).

Findings show that India’s working women are 2 times more likely to be worried about the availability of jobs, their professional network, and time devoted to job seeking, than working men today. This uneven impact has also bruised the financial stability of working women, with as one in four (23%) female professionals concerned about growing expenses or debt, in contrast with just 1 in 10 (13%) working men.

Also, the pandemic’s recent peak in India has amplified the importance of work experience and professional connections, as young Indians were found twice (2.5x) as worried as their older cohorts, about the impact of covid-19 on their careers.

Nearly 30% of Gen Z professionals and 26% of millennials are troubled due to lack of jobs, in comparison to 18% of Baby Boomers. The uncertainty widens when it comes to finances as 1 in 4 Gen Z (23%) and millennials (24%) report being more worried about their debt or expenses, when compared to just half as many Boomers (13%) in India today.

As per LinkedIn Labour Market Update, LinkedIn platform data suggests that the average time for fresh graduates to find a new job has also increased by 43% (from 2 to 2.8 months) in 2020 compared to pre-covid-19 times in 2019.

But while the conversion time has increased, so have remote opportunities, as LinkedIn platform data further suggests that the proportion of entry-level jobs labeled as ‘remote’ posted between Jan-March 2020 have increased by 9 times between 2020 and 2021.

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