Mr Sharma: Why are you applying for a job when you can start helping your father at his shop?
Abhay: But Uncle, I am a PhD in finance. Dad doesn’t even require an expert like me when he has a manager taking care of things.
Mr Sharma: But still you can work with your dad and gain experience.
Abhay’s uncle, Mr Sharma is trying to influence him to work at his father’s electronics shop. But, Abhay wants to go abroad and do a job in finance. Though a PhD in Finance, Abhay could be on the verge of becoming another victim of underemployment. This would happen if he takes the suggestion of his uncle and starts working at his father’s shop.
Underemployment is a situation when workers are doing part-time jobs but would prefer to work full time. Or, when workers who are highly skilled work in low skill jobs.
You can’t be over-educated but you can be over-qualified. Well, at least that’s the case in India today.
It’s true that unemployment is a major problem and it’s very important to provide jobs to people. But, what’s even more important is to provide them jobs that they are capable of doing and deserve.
While we keep talking about unemployment, severe underemployment has become the biggest economic challenge of India.
Today, we see automation and technology taking deeper roots in almost all the sectors of the Indian Economy. As the result, more jobs are been taken away than being created. So where would the job-seeking population go?
The vast population seeking employment tends to settle for jobs that are far below what they are skilled for. These are the jobs for which they are “overqualified” and pay them less than what they are capable of earning. People even take part-time jobs when they fail to secure a full-time one. The underemployed-workers aren’t to be blamed; when they have a belly to fill, bills to pay and a family to take care of, they fall in the trap of “something is better than nothing”.
The worst form of underemployment is when people are not even aware that they are underemployed. This majorly happens because of lack of information and awareness.
Underemployment leads to low earnings which subsequently means a lower GDP than what the economy is capable of achieving. It also leads to wastage and underutilisation of the human resources. It also hinders the career-goals and severely impacts the self-esteem of underemployed workers. Furthermore, it slows down the economic growth and development of the country.
While we invest in our higher education, we must ensure that we are studying what we like. We should focus on learning what will fetch us a career that we aim for. We should properly research the options available to do the desired job and patiently undergo the recruitment process.
Entrepreneurship is also one way to combat underemployment. The increasing number of startups in India are likely to contribute in job creation and help combat underemployment.
On a whole, it very important to be able to recognise underemployment. You cannot let it burn your potential and take away the opportunity from you. An opportunity that adds significantly more to your personal and the economy’s growth.