32% Indians earning less since outbreak of COVID-19: Survey

By: |
August 7, 2020 5:58 PM

Young people and those in emerging markets are more confident and willing to adapt their approach to work post-pandemic, reveals a new survey.

 COVID-19, personal finance, income, employment, digital skillsGlobally, Indians most confident in their skills to thrive despite COVID-19 slum.

A Standard Chartered survey finds that COVID-19 is significantly impacting personal finances globally, with one-third already earning (32% in India) less and more than half expecting the pandemic to further affect their income or employment.

Yet over three quarters globally (89% in India) are confident they have the digital skills needed to thrive. This is driven by young people (18-34) and those in emerging markets, who are the most confident in their skills and prepared to adapt and work harder to realise opportunities in a post-COVID-19 world.

There is one clear area of an almost unanimous agreement; a global desire for more flexibility when it comes to working arrangements post-COVID-19. Indians have the highest rate of wanting to continue working from home for at least two days a week once restrictions are lifted, at 83%, compared to a global average of 71% (for those for whom it is applicable). 77% of people in India (77% globally) also want more flexible working arrangements in the future.

The study of 12,000 adults across twelve markets – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, UAE, Kenya, Pakistan, the UK and the USA – offers insights into their financial wellbeing and employment outlook in these challenging times, and how banks can play a role in helping them manage their money.

The survey reveals a stark contrast between the financial reality that people face and their confidence in the future. This can be explained by a willingness – particularly among young people and those in emerging markets – to work harder, take steps to adapt income streams and reskill if they can, in order to earn more.

While globally, a higher proportion of young people (18-34) feel confident they have the digital skills needed to thrive post-COVID-19, confidence does not decrease with age in India.

Yet, with many graduating or leaving school in the midst of a global recession, younger generations are certainly willing, or able, to adapt to current circumstances. For example, 76% of 25 to 34-year-olds in India (75% globally) would set up a second income stream compared to 67% of those over 55 (40% globally).

India’s Millennials and Generation Z are also more likely to respond to the crisis by starting a new business. 56% of Indians aged 18 to 44 (52% globally) would consider starting a new business in the next six-months compared to 45% of those aged 45 and above (30% globally).

Around the world, this level of flexibility, adaptability and entrepreneurialism tends to decrease with age, along with confidence, despite – or perhaps because – older generations are more established in their careers.

The divide is even starker when comparing developed and developing markets. Those in established global economies are not only less confident they have the digital skills needed to thrive amidst the downturn but are also less willing to adapt and take steps to increase their income.

Over 88% of people in India, Kenya, Mainland China and Pakistan said they would prefer to work more to get ahead than reduce their hours for less pay. Meanwhile, the UK and the US had the highest proportion of people who valued free time over money (38% and 33% respectively).

In terms of wanting to better manage personal finances, 82% of Indian respondents, just below Kenya (93%), Indonesia (90%), Mainland China (85%), and Malaysia (83%), report the highest proportion of people who want to better manage their finances.

And while the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the growth of online banking, with over half globally using online services more, the shift has been more apparent in fast growing markets. For example, increased use of mobile devices for banking services is most prominent in India (79%), followed by the UAE (72%), and Kenya (69%). Fast growth markets are also more likely to want their banks to help improve their confidence at managing money digitally – Kenya (91%), India (84%) and Indonesia (84%).

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