Abstract- India has the largest youth population in the world. Any policies or decisions taken for the population at large and youth in particular, cannot ignore to understand various attributes related to youth. The current research paper is an attempt to know and understand the preferences of youth with regards to various attributes related to their day-to-day habits, beliefs, ethos, preferences and career aspirations. Various observations suggested that young people generally knew how to access internet; spend most of their time on mobiles; could read, write and understand English but could not speak it confidently; were dependent upon parents for financial resources; wanted to pursue a career with reputation; and felt that the time-management was the biggest challenge. They also gave their opinions regarding their beliefs about themselves and the societal norms. Analysis like these can help the marketers and policy makers in designing and implementing policies and strategies targeted at youth segment.
Key words– Youth, preferences, beliefs, attributes, ethos, India
The demography of India in the contemporary times is historically placed in a way that could lead India towards becoming a superpower. India is the second most populated country in the world after China. According to a UN report cited in The Hindu (2014) India had the largest youth population in the world with 28% of the population belonging to the age group of 10-24 years’ old. About 356 million people belonged to this age-group in India. If this segment of the population developed into a productive human resource then there would be a surge in the economic growth. They would earn and spend more and thereby participate in the economic growth through contributions in production and consumption. This would further lead to an increased GDP for a long period of time till this segment of the population retired from the workforce. For a country that can enjoy such a demographic dividend for about four decades, it surely holds promises for future economic growth and development.
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It is thus very important to understand the preferences of youth so that the efforts by policy makers, sociologists, anthropologists, economists, and businessmen amongst others were put in the correct direction. Their participation in production and consumption would be greatly influenced by their preferences and beliefs. Hence the objective of this paper was to understand the habits, preferences, beliefs, ethos, etc. of the youth and thereby gain a fair idea regarding selected attributes.
A primary data collection was done for this exploratory research. Sample size was 100 youth. But 96 responses were analyzed since four were incomplete for certain responses. All the respondents belonged to the age group of 18-24 years and included 54 females and 42 males. The survey was conducted through a questionnaire based on informal discussions and a testing of a draft questionnaire through a preliminary survey. The questionnaire was further revised to incorporate the changes based on the observations and suggestions from the preliminary survey. Respondents were given the liberty to choose more than one options in certain questions. Frequencies have been cited for various attributes. The research area was Adipur city of Kachchh district, which is also called an education center due to the presence of about 15 institutions of higher learning in the vicinity. Attributes included were related to habits, preferences, beliefs, ethos, opinions about self and the societal norms, etc.
Limitations of the research include those related to the sample size and number of attributes that could be incorporated. It was restricted to one geographical area only. Further research can be conducted to include more attitudes and people from larger geographical area. The attributes to be analyzed can also be increased. Certainly such researches are specific to a particular targeted segment and cannot be generalized for larger or different areas.
FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS
The respondents were asked how they spent most of their leisure time. About 89 preferred enjoying with their handsets through various activities like chats, playing games, browsing internet and listening to music. About 44 preferred freaking out with friends, 38 preferred watching television, 26 performed household chores, 18 preferred spending time in their own offices or shops, 12 preferred self-grooming related activities and about 19 were involved in various forms of exercises.
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About 76 respondents accessed internet almost on a daily basis through phones, laptops or personal computers whereas 12 respondents accessed internet with a frequency of about once a week and about 8 accessed with a frequency of about once a month or not at all. 70 respondents used at least one social networking site, whereas 26 did not. The purpose of accessing internet was bifurcated as: for social purposes 52, 69 for academic purposes and 78 for entertainment. 74 students knew and used handset texting languages and about 13 students rarely used the texting language and a 9 were unaware. 68 respondents said that they read a newspaper regularly out of which 44 read English newspapers and 24 read vernacular language newspaper i.e. Gujarati dailies. 37 respondents suggested that they routinely accessed knowledge resources either in the form of books, magazines, or browsing through various knowledge associated websites. 84 students said that they understood English language, but 48 were confident that they can read and write correct English and 27 were confident of speaking correct English. About 34 said that they feared to communicate with anyone in English and included 11 respondents who suggested that they were able to speak correct English.
About 7 respondents received a fixed pocket money from their parents, to sponsor their leisure costs whereas about 68 suggested that they got the financial support from their parents as and when required. 25 were employed and so were self-dependent for most of their own financial needs except education. About 5 boys and 3 girls even supported family financially. The self-dependents largely earned either from their own shops after academic hours, doing jobs and others provided coaching to younger students. Financial resources were used in the costs associated with handset and other electronic gadgets, self-grooming inclusive of purchases of garments and cosmetics, freaking out with friends for movies or restaurants, costs related to education like fees, books, coaching classes’ charges, stationery, etc. Educational expenses were incurred by parents in case of 84 respondents.
Respondents’ discussion amongst themselves largely focused on handset features, social discussions related to family and friends, fashion and appearance, movies and soap-operas, amongst others. 48 respondents were hopeful about the bright future of the country while 34 felt that the challenges were difficult to overcome and the rest were not sure.
With regards to their career options 38 respondents wanted to pursue a career that had reputation as the prime-most attribute, 12 wanted a career with an easy life, 32 wanted a career that was financially lucrative, and 18 respondents wanted to pursue a career that could make them powerful / influential. When inquired for the challenges that they faced in pursuing their ambitions / aspirations, time-management was a common challenge for 68 respondents, lack of focus for 48, lack of self-commitment for 39, financial constraints for 27 and geographical immobility for 42.
To understand what the youth felt about themselves and certain societal norms they were asked to give their opinions with regards to certain sentences with responses like disagree, neutral or agree. All the responses have not been quoted. Only those responses that had strong opinions were cited.
48 students agreed that they believed in hard work. 83 agreed that they obeyed the suggestions made by the parents. 75 agreed that they wanted to learn from their own mistakes. 74 agreed that youth had the power to change the society. 20 agreed that they believed in achieving results no matter how, 29 were neutral and 47 disagreed. 42 agreed that they knew their strengths and weaknesses while 17 were neutral and 37 disagreed. 50 respondents agreed that they believed in living ethically, honestly and truthfully while 14 were neutral. Some of the respondents who were neutral also suggested that ethics were subjective and differed from person to person, place to place and situation to situation. 70 agreed that they accomplished everything for their family. 41 students agreed that for them their friend’s opinions were the most influential but 29 were neutral and 26 disagreed. 77 agreed that working in a team produced best results. 43 agreed that they did not care what society thought / believed but 24 respondents were neutral and 29 disagreed and suggested that they were concerned about what society thought. 74 agreed that they took decisions only after a careful thinking while 16 were neutral. 49 agreed that they were cool, 26 were neutral and 21 did not agree that they were cool. The students who disagreed felt that it was neither important to look cool since they did not care or they felt that there were far more important things to do than putting efforts in looking cool. 53 liked bright and vibrant colors, 23 were neutral and 20 disliked. 69 respondents agreed that they liked adventurous activities, while 18 were neutral. 55 agreed that they liked to earn more and spend more, while 19 were neutral 22 felt that it was equally important to save what was earned. 68 agreed that they respected traditions but that it was not a burden for them while 12 were neutral while 20 felt the burden of maintaining traditions. 37 agreed that they liked to show off their talent, 16 were neutral and 43 disagreed and suggested that they did not like to show off their talent.