By Sashi Kumar
As the world’s largest democracy continues to witness conversations around employment and job creation during the election season, it is interesting to take note of a spiking rise in inclination towards politics and allied careers among the youth. A survey by Indeed recently reveals that over 80% of employees in India are interested in politics. While millennials have been branded as politically indifferent and a disconnected generation, they have evolved a distinct identity of civic activism. Unlike former generations, millennials consider the government as an avenue to help society, along with activities such as volunteering, donating to charitable organisations, and supporting local businesses and community efforts. With the growing demand for transparency, millennials believe in creating a measurable impact, which they are increasingly exploring through careers in allied fields like social service and welfare.
Politics is gaining significance among millennials, not only for core political careers but in allied fields. Our statistics indicate 34% respondents find a career as a political analyst interesting, 33% are interested in working in a government organisation for social service, 33% find working for human rights and welfare organisations interesting, and further 27% are interested in a career in political journalism.
Going beyond interest, skills in demand for these roles are worth exploring. Public speaking and presentation skills almost go hand in hand, for a career within the political spectrum; and as much as 53% employees believe in the need for social and emotional intelligence to work in the field. Of course leadership and conflict management skills, paired with the skill of being able to understand the audience provide an upper hand for the job. But more importantly, analytical and tactical skills for problem-solving and crisis management are a must.
Although these skills have been identified as employment essentials in the field of politics and 43% employees have acquired or are in the process of acquiring skills that they think are required for a job in the field, 35% are still planning on how to acquire these skills. It is therefore evident that skilling to suit job roles as well as fit in at workspaces continues to be a challenge for both employees as well as employers.
Exploring the nature of current workplace requirements, employees demand transparency and diversity in the workplace. This requirement interestingly also extends towards awareness of political preferences of employers. Our study shows 57% of employees believe it is important for their employers to be open about their political leanings, and 61% of them have tried to assess the political inclination of a prospective employer in some capacity while searching for jobs. However, having mismatched political ideologies with one’s workplace can lead to dissatisfaction for the employee. 64% employees support this sentiment as they have experienced discomfort at their workplace in this regard.
Interestingly, as much as employees want their employers to be open regarding their political leanings, 75% believe that work and politics should remain separate and confirm they have never rejected a job owing to the perceived political affiliation of an employer.
(The author is Managing Director of job search firm Indeed India. Views expressed are personal.)