What do youth want? The short answer is everything. They want to be happy, they want to be thought well of, they want a job, and they want the job to be secure, well-paying and challenging. According to the HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2013, over two-fifths (41.5%) of our surveyed youth said the pursuit of happiness tops their wishlist.
Job prospects undeniably contribute to the feeling of happiness and well-being, and in this category, Delhi has the highest percentage (48%) of salary-conscious youngsters followed by Pune (46%), Mumbai (45.5%), Indore (41.7%) and Chennai (40%). Those who clearly say they "want to be rich" are to be found in Pune (42%), Ranchi (42.3%), Bangalore (38%), Chandigarh (37%) and Indore (36.7%).
Where careers are considered, while Indian youth now have a plethora of white-collar choices, entrepreneurship is still a no-go area; only 15.7% are interested in becoming young entrepreneurs with Ahmedabad topping (23.3%) and Kolkata (5.8%) coming last on the list.
Given that India is being touted as a rising Asian power, even the better figures might seem unimpressive. Owner of Rockstah Media, Farrhad Acidwalla (19), who is one of the India's youngest entrepreneurs, differs. "The entrepreneurship record of the US is somewhere around 13% and India's is higher than that, so it's a great sign. We cannot have the whole country thinking that entrepreneurship is the way."
The culture of a place also contributes to its spirit. Acidwalla believes this goads people to innovate. "We're always reading or watching through cinema how Mumbai changes people's lives and that adds to the inspiration," he adds.
Entrepreneurship of course has its risks. This is why though 25% of the surveyed youth said aye to taking up a challenging job, a higher 35.5% seemed to want a secure government job. "Our education system that does not encourage youth to be creative and innovative," said Prahlad Kakkar, ad director and pop culture commentator. "Today, top entrepreneurs are not from top business schools but from IITs….The colonial rule saw majority of people serving as babus, it stunted our entrepreneurial spirit."
There are also career choices in the field of social responsibility. Of the surveyed youth, 21.7% believe in making other people's lives better; 6.3% want to do so by joining a social welfare organisation. "There is a need to encourage more people to act as agents of change. While some are genuinely interested in social work, it is equally true that for some it is a certificate to be attached to their resume," said Beni, an intern with Shiksha Rath, an initiative for underprivileged children in Delhi.
The survey reveals that the willingness to help is the highest among Lucknowites (23.3%) followed by Ahmedabadis (22%) and Hyderabadis (19%). As for other interesting glimpses of what goes on in other big cities - the youth of Jaipur top the list of wanting to live long; Ranchi, for wanting to work overseas; Hyderabadis, for the way they look and Bangaloreans for finding love. To each his own.