Is underemployment more harmful than unemployment?

Though it is a well-known fact that India has been facing unemployment for quite some time, experts are of the opinion that underemployment is a more serious threat faced by our economy. In simpler terms, the work, that is for a single person to complete, is now being divided among two to three persons, leading to prevalent underemployment. Poverty leads to unemployment and it’s quite obvious but there are other factors too, that are making the situation all the more difficult. 

The National Sample Survey Office or the NSSO which is presently in charge of handling the economic condition of the subcontinent opines that the rate of employment is very low but it is stable for the last thirty years. This is contrary to the claims raised pertaining to job growth. The number of jobs may have increased but prospects of growth and development have been reduced, further paving the way for severe unemployment.

Causes of rising underemployment:

There are a number of causes for underemployment and they can be classed under positive and negative. Positive factors include a rise in the number of college graduates, growth in opportunity for women, the export of manufacturing work, automation and a lot more. But it is to be considered that the expectations of this public have also increased. Today, a college graduate expects a salary that he/she thinks can do justice to his years of education. Also, they have become more choosy, preferring to take up jobs that only interests them.

Under these circumstances, a huge controversy has cropped up. The estimated rate of youth unemployment is roughly thrice the whole rate of unemployment. It is further backed up by a situation where we see engineers and top-grade MBAs are looking for jobs that have meagre payments with no connection to their knowledge and expertise. 

Now the obvious question is why is it that such educated and seasoned young minds of the nation is looking out for peon’s jobs? The answer lies in the proliferation of private colleges without any quality control on the education it provides. As a result, there is a surplus of graduates without proper skill whose employability cannot be guaranteed in the present situation. 

For all these reasons, the so-called educated youth of the country is looking for any kind of government jobs for sustainability, without any regard to the position they hold or the wages they earn. On the other hand, in the government sector, there is deregulation and economic liberation, leading to reduced space. The demand-supply gap is thus increasing at a shipping rate calling for the improvement of the quality of graduates. Needless to say, to make a place in this sector, one must possess unquestionable technical abilities along with brilliant communication skills. 

Thus, all these points highlight the fact that the actual problem of our economy us not unemployment but serious underemployment. Unless the working class can be moved to high order employment in agriculture or other unorganised sectors, many of us will have to live a life infested with inequality, suffering and most importantly, poverty. 

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