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India's young have set high targets to achieve that perfect life

Namita Kohli , Hindustan Times   August 14, 2014
First Published: 18:20 IST(14/8/2014) | Last Updated: 16:03 IST(16/8/2014)

For today's youth, the burden of aspirations means starting early. Take the case of Navmeeta Roy, all of 21, she is keen to be "financially independent", and a "successful" professional.

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Roy, who works as a paid intern for a public relations firm, says it's important for her to work hard to achieve her dreams – her own house, a car, and the power to support her family. "I have learnt that money can give you happiness, and I am working towards it. I am enjoying this work; meeting new people, and learning new things," says the Fine Arts graduate.

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In an era of rising material and professional expectations, youngsters like Roy feel it's important to focus on building a career, a path that they believe will lead to the realisation of their aspirations – both material and otherwise.

Roy, who switched from making a career in arts to public relations because "you need to make money too", says she has always been a "focussed" individual, unlike some of her friends who are laid-back about their careers.

In general, the youth are a happy bunch, or so the numbers indicate.  Seventy-seven per cent of those interviews as part of the survey conducted by Hindustan Times said they were happy. But juxtapose this "level of happiness" with a worry about the future, and 46 per cent confess to being worried about the future, up from the 2012 figure of 40 per cent.

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A little over 62 per cent of respondents said that they have high expectations from their future. Interestingly, the survey results show that a higher number of women - 49 per cent - seem to be worried about their future, and a significantly higher number of them - 69.1 per cent- have higher expectations from their future as compared to men (55.4 per cent).

This "worry" and expectations from the future then translates into being serious about what professions they choose – 52.6 per cent agree that they like to plan strategically about their life and career.

Sociologist TK Oomen says that while the aspirations always existed in the young, today, the structure of those aspirations has changed dramatically.

"With the shift in employment options from the government, or the army or even becoming a doctor, to that involving working with multinational corporations, the aspirations of the youth have also shifted. Today, the question is not about being in a good job, but how much more can one get?" says Oomen.

Youth Speak: If we don't do well, India will not progress

Also see: It's more important to opt for MBA than MBBS now, says Dr TK Oommen

According to Oomen, a shift towards rising - pre-dominantly material - aspirations can be accounted for by the change in material conditions of the youth – bank loans are easily available to buy consumer durables, and high salaries paid by big companies make it possible to afford those loans in the first place. 

For a media professional like Shivani Bhattacharya, 22, the aspirations may not be pre-dominantly material – at least not at this stage, as she clarifies – but she is still serious about thinking through her options: "At this stage, I am working towards building my career as a writer on development issues. Today, I am working for a media house, but I might consider going for further studies, and explore a career in academics as well."

Pawas Aakrsh, also a Fine Arts graduate who is currently doing freelance projects, says that he is looking for a job that will fetch him a "good salary" and an opportunity for "creative satisfaction" as well.

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But Aakrsh, 24, is not limiting himself to a job in India. As an animation and special effects designer, he is considering applying to studios abroad as well.

"There are many reputed studios offering this kind of work abroad and I am considering them as well," he says, giving credence to the survey figure of 57.9 per cent of youth who consider themselves "global citizens".

Global or local, for the youth, dreams mean hard work, and an early start is already a step ahead in the game.

Full coverage: HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2014


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