About INgene blog : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog

About INgene : First ever Indian Youth trend Insights blog:
This blog explores the detailed characteristics of Young-India and explains the finer & crucial differences they have with their global peers. The blog also establishes the theory of “adopted differentiation” (Copyright Kaustav SG,2007) and how the Indian & Inglodian youth are using this as a tool to differentiate themselves from the “aam aadmi” (mass population of India) to establish their new found identity.

The term youth refers to persons who are no longer children and not yet adults. Used colloquially, however the term generally refers to a broader, more ambiguous field of reference- from the physically adolescent to those in their late twenties.
Though superficially the youth all over the world exhibits similar [degree of] attitude, [traits of] interests & [deliverance of] opinion but a detailed observation reveals the finer differential characteristics which are crucial and often ignored while targeting this group as a valued consumer base. India is one of the youngest countries in the world with 60% of its population less then 24 years of age and is charted as the most prospective destination for the retail investment in the A. T. Kearney’s Global Retail Opportunity Report, 2007. With the first ever non-socialistic generation’s thriving aspiration & new found money power combined with steadily growing GDP, bubbling IT industry and increasing list of confident young entrepreneurs, the scenario appears very lucrative for the global and local retailers to target the “Youngisthan” (young-India). But, the secret remains in the understanding of the finer AIOs of this generation. The Indian youth segment roughly estimates close to 250million (between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five) and can be broadly divided (socio-psychologically) into three categories: the Bharatiyas, the Indians & the Inglodians (copyright Kaustav SG 2008). The Bharatiyas estimating 67% of the young population lives in the rural (R1, R2 to R4 SEC) areas with least influence of globalization, high traditional values. They are least economically privileged, most family oriented Bollywood influenced generation. The Indians constitute 31.5% (A, B,C, D & E SEC) and have moderate global influence. They are well aware of the global trends but rooted to the Indian family values, customs and ethos. The Inglodians are basically the creamy layers (A1,A SEC) and marginal (1.5% or roughly three million) in number though they are strongly growing (70% growth rate). Inglodians are affluent and consume most of the trendy & luxury items. They are internet savvy & the believers of global-village (a place where there is no difference between east & west, developing & developed countries etc.), highly influenced by the western music, food, fashion & culture yet Indian at heart.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Indian youth remains positive- even in this meltdown worldover

Even in this time of "melting dream" and the nightmare of being "pink-slipped" Indian youth remains positive. The unique value of family bonding and social support has saved India earlier also...during the invasion and devastations in Mughal and British period. Check the reports below:

Indian colour of a pink slip
Sandipan Deb
Fri, Feb 6 04:35 AM

What does it feel like to be on the way home from work one evening, preparing yourself to tell the family that you don't have a job anymore? I have friends who have been through this, yet I can only vaguely imagine what goes through a man's mind in the moments before the inevitable confession to wife, child, parents. No one who hasn't gone through that moment possibly can more than vaguely imagine the feelings: the anger, helplessness, guilt, shame, fear. If one had a choice, one wouldn't want anyone to go through that experience. But I am also a person who has personally sacked perhaps two dozen people during my career. In the last three months, I have let three people go, on grounds of incompetence.

But today, we know what the reality is, what the rules that run a market are. I have known young software engineers switching jobs thrice a year just for more money and nothing else, their minds devoid of any concept of employer loyalty or job content. The times were good then, grand. The times are bad now, as they were inevitably supposed to be at some point of time. We have seen real estate developers on reckless building sprees, charging prices that look like phone numbers for apartments clearly worth much less in the long run. The party couldn't have lasted for ever. And yesterday's hot shot who got fired last week should have known that fast careers come with risks attached. Always.

The good part is that we are now socially educated enough not to attach much - I would have loved to say "any" - stigma to a pink slip recipient. We have progressed since the days when dismissal was seen as career cancer. We know that the reason for dismissal may have nothing to do with performance. A friend of mine got fired twice, both times because of global-level mergers and consequent decisions taken by men sitting in New York who had never visited India and decided to close down their businesses here. The first time, he landed at Delhi airport, fresh from honeymoon at Phuket, picked up a financial daily and found he had no job. The second time was brutal. His entire division was called in, and told to clear out with their belongings within the next half hour. Their competence was not in question, their performance had not been criticised. Men in Manhattan had decided to close that damn division down, not worth their time.

When you have no option but to fire, you have to. But. One, CEOs are programmed to attack salary costs and manpower before they take any other action when their companies fall on bad times. The US Senate Committee asked the chiefs of the Detroit Big Three: "How many of you have flown here in your corporate jets?" All three had. Forget corporate jets, a senior manager travelling from Mumbai to Delhi ten times a year on a low-fare airline instead of full-fare business class would be enough to keep four low-level employees on the roll. Two, when the best of times change to the worse of times, hardly any company says: Let's take pay cuts and go on. Given their salary levels, the top one lakh executives in India could easily take a pay cut of 10 per cent and feel no pinch at all, and save a crore jobs. I am sorry if I am sounding like a woolly socialist, but the few times I have seen top managers take this sort of decision, the organisation has become stronger, morale has gone up, and people have worked harder.

But in the massive majority of cases, it's the small fry in a company who get shafted, and they are left clueless about what they did wrong. For instance, right now in India, the job loss problem, to a significant extent, is due to the irrational exuberance of top managers. They thought the boom would last for ever, and hired many more people than they needed in anticipation of riches that have turned out to be a mirage. In management jargon, that's poor market projection. Let's put it in simpler terms: You screwed up. But these men, I think (I hope I am wrong) are safe in their jobs, blaming the sub-prime crisis for the woes of the thousands of people they have personally rendered jobless.

Again, at the risk of sounding like a bleeding-heart liberal, if you do have to let people go, it's all about how you do it. The Jet Airways firing fiasco is an object lesson in how not to do it. This is India, not the US. All human activity works in a cultural context. In fact, forget cultural context, there is also something called respect for human beings. People need to be given warnings, people need to be told that this could happen to them, people need to be given the big picture, they need to be told what other measures the company is taking. And they need to be given humane terms of disengagement. All this must apply to cases that don't have to do with incompetence. There, only the warnings part applies. With dishonesty, not even warnings. But if it is not incompetence or dishonesty, the pain should be shared from top to bottom, and a bit more at the top than at the bottom.

Bull runs end. Bear runs end. It's about how to manage the transition. My twice-fired friend, when he got the exit order the second time, took it in what I believe is heroic fashion. It was just a week before the soccer World Cup of 2002. "I'm free," he told me. "I'm going to watch every World Cup match and then think of looking for a job. This is good." He watched every match, living for 40 days in T-shirt and shorts. We watched the finals together. He works for a giant multinational out of Singapore now.
The writer is editor of RPG Enterprises' soon-to-be launched weekly features and current affairs magazine express@expressindia.com

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