College students Saloni Shah, 18, left, Roshani Munat, 18, center, and Shruti Jain, 19, use their smartphone devices in Mumbai. (Photographer: Kainaz Amaria/Bloomberg)

Indian Millennials Most Optimistic As Global Peers Fear Automation

Millennials across the world are unsure if they have the ability to compete in Industry 4.0 driven by automation, data and new manufacturing technologies. The only exception: their Indian peers, who are the most optimistic.

Around 64 percent of those born between 1980 and 1994 believe they are unprepared for the challenges it will bring, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey. And they are banking on their employers to equip them with those skills.

In contrast, 70 percent of Indian millennials are confident of their skills and said that their employers are helping them prepare for the future. In general, the younger generation in emerging markets is far more optimistic about the future than those in the developed world.

Millennials will account for 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, according to Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial Survey. They face an industry in transition where both low-skilled and analytical jobs are being taken over by automation and artificial intelligence. From manufacturing to finance, robots and algorithms have rendered traditional positions irrelevant.

The fear of now living up to the need of technology-driven work is higher among Gen Z, the post-millennial generation. About 71 percent feel unprepared in the automated industry. About 8 percent believe that they lack all skills needed to make it in the industry of the future.

And those who do believe they have the skills also feel the most threatened by it.

While they are comfortable with the use of technology and expect automation to take away all mundane tasks, they fear that soft skills— something they are not being prepared in— will become much more important. “While technical skills are always necessary, respondents are especially interested in building interpersonal skills, confidence and ethical behavior—all of which they consider essential for a business to be successful.”

Motivations and ethics of the younger generation are also not aligned with that of a business, the survey found. If there is a match, they perceive those businesses to be more successful and that they do a better job of refining talent.

And then there is the obvious lure of the gig economy. Generations Y and Z agree that short-term jobs and freelancing is getting more attractive.

In charts: Here’s a peek into their minds...