With 356 million 10-24 year-olds, India has the world’s largest youth population despite having a smaller population than China, a recent report by the United Nations has stated. The report titled ‘The power of 1.8 billion’, said 28 per cent of India’s population is 10 to 24 year-olds, adding that the youth population is growing fastest in the poorest nations. Global number of youths is highest ever.
China is second with 269 million young people, followed by Indonesia (67 million), the US (65 million) and Pakistan (59 million), Nigeria with 57 million, Brazil with 51 million, and Bangladesh with 48 million, the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) State of the World’s Population report said.
The average age of employees at India’s top software services exporter — Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the country’s largest private sector employers — is 28. This is 10 years less than the median age at American technology giant Oracle, according to data from PayScale, an online provider of employee compensation data.
The composition of TCS employees is a reflection of India’s young and burgeoning working-age population — a competitive edge that sets Asia’s third-largest economy apart from countries across the world, many of which are aging fast.
“A young workforce means having more innovative minds. It also means we are able to better leverage technology and increase efficiency,” said Ranjan Bandyopadhyay, global HR head of business process outsourcing for TCS.
Like TCS, the median age of India’s population as a whole is 28, significantly lower than that of regional peers China and Japan, at 37.6 and 44.4, respectively, according to data from global market research firm Euromonitor.
The UN report said that developing countries with large youth populations could see their economies soar, provided they invest heavily in young people’s education and health and protect their rights. Within this generation are 600 million adolescent girls with specific needs, challenges and aspirations for the future, the report said.
As the world is home to 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 year, 9 in 10 of the world’s young population live in less developed countries. “Young people are the innovators, creators, builders and leaders of the future. But they can transform the future only if they have skills, health, decision-making, and real choices in life.
“Today’s record 1.8 billion young people present an enormous opportunity to transform the future,” UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehim said. The potential economic gains would be realized through a “demographic dividend”, which can occur when a county’s working age population is larger than the population that is dependent.
“Never before have there been so many young people. Never again is there likely to be such potential for economic and social progress. How we meet the needs and aspirations of young people will define our common future,” the report said.
In order to maximize the dividend, countries must ensure their young working-age populations are equipped to seize opportunities for jobs and other income-earning possibilities, the UN agency said.