Mumbai/New Delhi: The urban youth of the country are not very hopeful about job prospects in the economy, fresh data from the third and latest round of the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey shows.

The survey conducted between mid-September and mid-October shows that two-thirds of millennials feel that is quite difficult to find a job these days. A similar proportion of pre-millennials and post-millennials feel likewise, the data shows.

These numbers reflect a sharp deterioration in job outlook compared to the second round of the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey, conducted in Jan-Feb 2019, and a slight deterioration compared to the first round of the survey, conducted in July 2018. This trend corresponds broadly to the trends reported in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) quarterly job outlook surveys.

Millennials refer to those who have attained adulthood in the early twenty first century, and grew up at a time when the world increasingly became digitally connected. In this analysis, millennials refer to those born between 1981 and 1996 (aged 23 to 38 years now). Those born after 1996 (aged 22 years or below) are referred to as the post-millennials or Gen Z. The rest have been classified as pre-millennials. Together, millennials and post-millennials account for roughly half of India’s adult population.

The third round of the YouGov-Mint Millennial Survey was conducted online and solicited the views of 9,324 respondents across cities, roughly twice the number of respondents covered in each of the previous two rounds. Of these, 4908 were millennials, 1888 pre-millennials, and 2528 post-millennials. The YouGov-Mint Millennial Surveys aim to examine the choices and attitudes of India’s digital natives.

The latest survey shows that those with higher educational qualifications are more worried about the job market compared to those with lesser qualifications among both millennials and post-millennials.

How has the slowdown impacted financial optimism among the young? A large section remains optimistic about their finances. Yet, a sizeable section is worried about their financial future.

Overall, more than a third of respondents said that they expect to be financially better off a year or two from now. Roughly a fifth said they expect to be worse off, and roughly a quarter said they expect to be neither better off nor worse off from now. The rest were unsure about the future. Financial optimism levels were broadly similar across age-groups.

Post-millennials seem most worried about a downturn and loss in income in the coming year. Less than a fifth of millennials and pre-millennials said that they expect their incomes to fall over the next year. But over a fourth of post-millennials said that they expected the same.

Among those who expect incomes to rise, a significant share, especially among the young, expect a better paying job. Another sizeable section expects a ‘good hike’. And still another significant section expects to gain an additional source of income.

Among millennials, a significantly higher share of those living in Tier I cities expect a good hike compared to those in Tier II and Tier III cities. Tier I cities include those with more than 5 million residents (including those in city suburbs and satellite cities).

Among post-millennials, a smaller share of those living in Tier I cities expect a good hike compared to those in smaller cities. But a much larger share of those in Tier I cities expect a better-paying job.

Among those expecting a decline in income, roughly half fear a growth slowdown or recession that will hit their earnings. And the rest fear either a job loss or a salary cut. Fear of job losses or wage cuts are highest among the poorest income groups.

Fears of job losses are roughly similar among millennials and pre-millennials, but are considerably higher among post-millennials, perhaps partly because many of them are new to their jobs.

The survey also shows that inflation expectations are relatively muted across age-groups, in what is perhaps a recognition of weak demand conditions. Most respondents expect inflation to be at sub-6 percent levels over the next year.

These inflation expectations are also more benign than those reported by the last quarterly inflations expectations conducted in the Sep-ended quarter by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The RBI survey of 5810 urban households showed that less than 5% expected inflation to be below 2 percent in the coming year whereas the YouGov survey data suggests that around 25% expect inflation to be below 2 percent in the coming year. 57% of respondents expected the inflation rate to exceed 4 percent according to the RBI survey, which has faced questions on its reliability in the past. According to the YouGov survey, 41 percent of respondents expected the inflation rate to exceed 4 percent. The young have a much heavier representation in the YouGov survey than in the RBI survey but even among the older lot, inflation expectations are roughly similar to that among the young.

This is the first of a five-part data journalism series on how millennials are coping with the economic slowdown.

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