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  • Indian Graduates Rank Finance Industry as Most Promising and Report Higher Career Confidence

    Published on May 30, 2024

     The 2024 Global Graduate Outlook Survey released today by CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, found that respondents in India and globally believed Finance offered the most promising and stable career prospects. Out of the 1000 graduates surveyed in India, thirty-nine percent (39%) placed their confidence in finance sector, seeing a seven percentage (7%) point increase from the 2023 Graduate Outlook Survey.

    The survey results reaffirm Indian graduates’ confidence in the job market as nearly 90% of graduates remained confident about their future career prospects in India’s current economic climate. This showcased a bullish outlook for the country’s employment prospects when compared to other leading markets such as US (70%) and UK (68%).

    “As graduates today seek professions that not only promise stability but also resonate with their desires to make a real tangible difference, finance emerges as an industry of opportunity. Our research shows that careers in finance offer the assurance of stability and provide a platform for graduates to support a more impactful future,” said Margaret Franklin, CFA, President and CEO, CFA Institute. “With new focus on sustainable investment strategies and possibilities for AI to enhance practices, graduates have the opportunity to help shape a more innovative industry through a career in finance.”

    “The survey results this year are encouraging, with graduates demonstrating a clear and optimistic outlook on their future careers. Their dedication to continuous learning, pursuing professional certifications and exploring emerging fields like AI, aligns well with the industry’s future needs and national skilling initiatives,” commented Arati Porwal, Country Head – India, CFA Institute. “This proactive approach to professional development and adaptability bodes well for India’s future workforce.”

    Indian Graduates Embrace AI

    As AI disrupts industries and workplaces, opportunities to learn and embrace new technology rank as top priorities for new graduates. Nearly 85% of Indian graduates think AI/automation is important to the success of their desired career paths, garnering a higher interest than the global average (66%) in embracing AI.

    Despite concerns about job displacements, Indian graduates are showing a strong interest in adapting to the current technological advancements. The survey reveals that 69% graduates think learning and knowing how to use AI has a large benefit and nearly 60% graduates showed interest in pursuing a career in the field of AI, indicating a proactive approach to aligning their skills with the evolving industry demands.

    Evolving Employability Strategies of Indian Graduates

    Graduates in India today are increasingly valuing professional certifications, personality training and upskilling as key resources for boosting employability with two-thirds (66%) of Indian graduates considering a professional industry qualification as the most valuable in driving their career forward.

    Three-quarters (73%) of graduates consider up-skilling and post-graduate/professional qualifications to be very important in today’s job market, underscoring the critical role of continued learning and advanced professional training in career advancement.

    Practical skills (66%), real work experience (52%) and internships (43%) are viewed as the other significant attributes that graduates believe will give them an edge while looking for a job post graduating. 

    What are graduates seeking in their careers?

    Despite increased confidence levels, when asked about concerns regarding career prospects, a small minority of graduates said that lack of jobs (14%) and career progression (9%) in their preferred sector, AI automation replacing jobs (11%), low pay (10%), and feeling unfulfilled or uninterested in their work (8%), rank as top concerns.

    With around 97% noting the importance of making a positive societal impact, the survey also uncovered that graduates seek out employers with commitments to purpose, as 53% say that a company’s commitment to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors would definitely influence their decision to apply for a job. Careers in finance present an opportunity to make a difference and professionals are eager to put ESG factors into practice. Similarly, a survey of CFA Program candidates found that 88% expressed some interest in enhancing their understanding of ESG considerations in investment decisions.

    Sources of information while evaluating career prospects

    In a significant shift from traditional career guidance sources, 60% of Indian graduates now turn to social media for information and advice on careers. The other key go-to sources of career advice include social acquaintances/friends (53%), family (47%), college professors (46%) and career guidance consultancies/professionals (43%).

    Highlighting a unique trend, social media remains the predominant source of career-related information in India (60%), reflecting 16% higher than the global average (44%).

    Exploring the world for further education and job prospects

    Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Indian graduates still choose to go abroad for university studies, although this number has declined since 2023 by eight percentage points (80%). Despite studying overseas, 72% of these graduates also plan to return to India for employment, with over two-thirds expressing the highest confidence in their career prospects within the country, reflecting a strong inclination among Indian graduates to leverage global education while seeking professional opportunities back home.

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