Mumbai –The 2023 Global Graduate Outlook Survey released by CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, found that a quarter of the global respondents consider finance to offer the best career prospects, a nine-percentage point increase from the previous survey in 2021. Indian graduates who participated in the study are optimistic about their career prospects, with 48% saying they are confident of finding a job in the current economic environment. Indian graduates also have a higher tendency (39%) compared to the global average (31%) in leveraging social media platforms to enhance their professional presence in the pursuit of improving their job prospects. However, over half of the Indian respondents (55%) said that a good salary was what they looked for most in an employer, higher than any other factor including training opportunities and a flexible working environment.
The survey comprised 9,437 global respondents, including 1,000 from India. The sample involved individuals pursuing or having completed a bachelor’s degree (past 3 years) and aged 18-25. It uncovered the extent to which Indian graduates have had to rethink their careers following the pandemic. As many as 64% of graduates report having had to reassess their career paths or desired sectors since the pandemic’s onset, while 63% state that Covid-19 negatively impacted their long-term career prospects. As a result of this, almost three quarters (72%) said that they plan to prolong their time in education to significantly improve their career prospects.
“Despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, students and recent graduates across the world feel positive about their career prospects, most notably in finance, which now enjoys the confidence of more graduates than any other profession,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO, CFA Institute. “This generation of graduates displays demonstrable interest in developing the skills needed for career advancement. Seventy-two percent say post-graduate certifications and qualifications will help them secure higher earnings and give them an edge in the job market. Businesses that are investing in learning and development and partnering with certification and educational institutions will be seen as responsive to the needs of a next generation of talent hungry to further their knowledge and careers.”
Interest in Higher Education on the Rise in India
There remains robust confidence in the importance of higher education qualifications among Indian graduates. Roughly three-quarters say pursuing a degree was worth it (77%) and that their career prospects have improved by undertaking a degree (83%). Half (50%) of the respondents emphasized the significance of pursuing higher education in relation to the job market, while a similar proportion (49%), acknowledged the substantial influence that certifications, that teach graduates job-ready skills in data science, cryptocurrency, and artificial intelligence, can have on their employment prospects.
In addition to a desire to upskill, Indian graduates showcased determination to make a positive societal and environmental contribution through their careers. The proportion of Indian graduates who consider it important for their profession to have a societal influence has risen to nearly 68%, a significant increase from 55% in 2021. This percentage surpasses that of their global counterparts, which stands at 49%.
“The increased aspirations of Indian graduates is a positive sign and is a symbol of optimism in the economy. The good news is that nearly half of them remain positive about their career prospects. It is also noteworthy that more and more Indian graduates are understanding that growth in career and compensation requires professional development and upskilling. Certifications in emerging fields hold immense potential and this is where CFA Institute plays a vital role to help equip talent with the finance skills of the future. We recently introduced a slew of changes to the CFA Program to keep our candidates ahead of the game. We have also developed a diverse portfolio of certificates designed to equip participants with job requirements for the future,” said Arati Porwal, Country Head, India, CFA Institute.
Growing Attraction towards Finance & Investment
In India, the number of graduates who express confidence in finance as the top-ranking career option almost doubled to 32% from 17% in 2021. The findings reveal a notable shift in career preferences as graduates are increasingly drawn towards the finance and investment industry. For instance, in the 2021 study, 15% expressed confidence in pursuing a career in architecture & construction and 6% were confident about their prospects in law. However, in 2023, these figures have dropped to 3% and 2% respectively, indicating a decline in confidence in these sectors as compared to finance.
Additional notable data from India:
- Graduates in India have a greater fear of AI or automation replacing their job role (16%) compared to the global average (13%).
- Over three-quarters (77%) of graduates consider themselves to have better career prospects than their parents’ generation.
- Indian graduates (72%) are significantly more likely than the global average (56%) to prolong their time in education while the job market is still volatile.
- Graduates find a career as a teacher as offering the most positive societal and environmental contribution, followed by social worker and doctor.