NEW DELHI — The deadly Covid-19 second wave in India has left Indian professionals, especially Gen Z and women, increasingly vulnerable in the job market, according to a study by professional networking platform LinkedIn.

The pandemic’s recent peak in India has amplified the importance of work experience and professional connections as young people are found twice (2.5x as worried as their older counterparts about the impact on their careers.

According to the latest edition of the LinkedIn workforce confidence index, nearly 30 percent of Gen Z professionals—born after 1997—and 26 percent of millennials born between 1981 and 1996 are troubled due to a lack of jobs.

In comparison, only 18 percent of Baby Boomers face anxiety over a lack of jobs, the professional networking firm’s report said. LinkedIn surveyed a total of 1,891 professionals from May 8 to June 4.

The uncertainty widens when it comes to finances as one in four Gen Z (23 percent) and millennials (24 percent) report being more worried about their debt or expenses when compared to just half as many Boomers (13 percent).

At the same time, the average time for fresh graduates to find a new job has also risen by 43 percent to 2.8 months in 2020 compared to pre-Covid-19 times in 2019.

But while the conversion time to find a job has increased, so have remote opportunities. For example, LinkedIn’s data suggests that the proportion of entry-level jobs labeled as ‘remote’ posted between Jan to March 2020 increased by 9x between 2020 and 2021.

Significantly, the second wave has worsened the ‘shecession’. The term was coined to indicate the impact of the pandemic on women, who have lost more jobs than men.

Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager for LinkedIn, said despite a modest revival, the confidence levels of working women and young professionals are among the lowest in today’s workforce.

Twice as many working women are concerned with job availability compared to working men, and 30 percent of Gen Z professionals worry due to lack of jobs, he said.

“Remote jobs can be the ray of hope, to provide the much-needed flexibility and growth in opportunities to help them bounce back into the workforce,” said Gupta.

India’s working women are 2x more likely to be worried about the availability of jobs, their professional network, and time devoted to job-seeking than working men.

The Individual Confidence Index scores of female professionals fell from +57 in March to +49 in early June — a 4x decline than working men.

This uneven impact has also bruised the financial stability of working women as 1 in 4 (23 percent) female professionals are concerned about growing expenses or debt in contrast with just 1 in 10 (13 percent) working men.

The concept of ‘self-care also appears to have become a greater priority for job seekers.

While one in two job-seekers value employee benefits (55 percent) and salary (53 percent) post Covid-19, an equal number of job-seekers are found prioritizing work-life balance (48 percent) and location flexibility (50 percent) when looking for a job.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Amrita Das)

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