Fastest growing occupation for young: Unpaid help in household enterprises

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The employment category for the youth which showed the sharpest increase between 2019 and 2022 is household unpaid work.

A total of 38.5 million youth were employed in this category in 2022 compared to 24.6 million in 2019, according to data from the recently released India Employment Report 2024 from the International Labour Organisation and the Institute for Human Development.

The increase for the category was 56.5 per cent, showed Business Standard calculations based on figures in the report. It was 25 per cent for employers and 9.7 per cent for own-account workers. Own-account workers, employers, and household unpaid workers are the subgroups of the self-employed category. Own-account workers are people who operate ventures on their own account without hiring any labour. The number of self-employed youth increased by 34.1 per cent from 48.1 million in 2019 to 64.5 million in 2022. The increase in youth employed in casual jobs was 10.7 per cent and those in regular was 5.3 per cent (chart 1).

Change in employment for youth between 2019 and 2022 (in %)

Household unpaid worker




Own-account work


Women dominated the household unpaid category while it was own-account for men within self-employment, the report said.

“The increasing prevalence of informality and temporary jobs in regular salaried employment raises serious concerns about the country’s trajectory of youth employment,” as per the report.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing continued to be the major sector of employment for youth with 52.2 million employed in 2022. Next was construction (20.5 million), followed by manufacturing (19.4 million), and trade (15 million).

The share of youth in high/medium skill jobs declined to 8.9 per cent in 2022 from 10.4 per cent in 2019. It was 3.4 per cent in 2000. On the other hand, the share in low-skilled and unskilled jobs has increased over the years. Around 64 per cent of youth were employed in low-skill jobs in 2022 (chart 2).

“Economic compulsion and a lack of sufficient high-skill, high-paying job opportunities,” are the reasons behind the higher share of youth employed in low-skill jobs, the report mentioned.

The report also analysed growth in terms of its drivers. Change in labour productivity was a major driver of growth. A rising working-age population also was a factor. But this rise was negated by the fact that fewer people from the working-age population were part of the labour force (called the labour force participation rate-LFPR).

“…the decline in LFPR overwhelmed the additions to the total working-age population in both shorter periods, thereby negating a large part of the impact of demographic shifts in the working-age population on the workforce. …the substantive withdrawal of a large section of the working-age population from the labour force over the past two decades…underlines the danger of bypassing the demographic dividend of a rise in youth population in India,” said the report.

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Pooja Gupta

CA Pooja Gupta (CA, ISA, having 15 years of experience. Educator and Digital Creator

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CA Pooja Gupta (CA, ISA, having 15 years of experience. Educator and Digital Creator

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