Why are millennials shifting towards creative careers

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There has been a sharp rise in takers for offbeat courses but most parents continue to be sceptical on letting their children take the creative route

The Indian education system has long been defined by its rote-learning method and textbook-centric teaching. The archaic learning pattern has been blamed to have taken away creative thinking from the young minds and taking up creative careers is low on their choices.

While some changes are seen in the education pattern with CBSE introducing art-integrated courses, Delhi government mandating entrepreneurship curriculum and draft NEP emphasising on creative courses, a change in the mindset of students and parents will help in nurturing the natural creativity among youngsters.

One of the leading reasons behind this shift is the dissolution of several traditional jobs, says Rimi B Chatterjee, professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. “In the 50s-70s, the Indian economy, like most economies around the world absorbed large numbers of standardised rote-trained technicians and service providers who populated the vast halls of PSU, manufacturing and infrastructure companies. But there has been a worldwide slowdown in these sectors, and many of the jobs that were once available have been automated,” says Chatterjee.

Exploring unconventional avenues

All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) report 2018-19 shows that the enrolments in conventional streams such as Engineering at both BTech and MTech levels have witnessed a decline of 6,37,781 in the last five years.

But, looking at creative courses including those in fine arts, fashion designing and technology, design, linguistics, and more, one can see that takers across various disciplines have increased in the last two years. A total of 53,213 students took up various Fine Arts programmes in 2018-19 as against 52,414 in 2017-18. Additionally, enrolments in Design courses have gone up from 20,844 in 2017-18 to 22,545 in 2018-19.

Enrolments in various creative courses
Year Fine Arts Design Fashion Technology Linguistics
2018-19 53,213 28,017 22,545 25,140
2017-18 52,414 23,401 20,844 23,135
2016-17 45,533 17,579 18,851 29,312
2015-16 42,609 14,425 16,456 26,273
Source: AISHE Reports

These figures are a result of the creation of new jobs as well as branches of current jobs that did not exist earlier, says Indrajit Neogi, head of department, Film and Video Design, MIT Institute of Design, Pune.

“Taking the example of Indian cinema, one cannot overlook the extensive way social media and digitisation have impacted it. Unlike today, earlier one could not think of streaming videos online or producing shows and films exclusively for digital platforms. These advancements have given rise to various novel job roles in video and film editing, production, scriptwriting, sound recording, to name a few. Therefore, the uncertainty related to carving out a career in such offbeat fields has subsided to some extent,” he says.

Chatterjee points out that besides traditional jobs not being rewarding anymore, students these days no longer rely on their parents to make decisions for them. “They know they have to survive in this new world, and if it is a choice between satisfying their parents’ expectations and setting themselves up in worthwhile, successful lives, the brighter students will always rebel at the dinner table and strike out for themselves.”

In addition to this, parents have become far open-minded and keen on encouraging their children to follow their dreams. “This can be credited to the various job opportunities that have opened up in creative areas such as design, fashion, writing, fine arts, music, etc. Hence, parents, these days are less anxious regarding the future of their children if the latter choose such a career,” adds Neogi, who has won two national awards for sound recording in cinema.

Need better governance in place

Despite the growing enrolments in creative courses, emphasises Mir Imtiyaz, head, Department of Sculpture, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, one cannot ignore that a large number of Indian parents are still sceptical about their children making a career in unconventional paths.

As the solution, he suggests that proper orientation programmes for the students and parents from the primary education level must be introduced so that “creative fields are not merely considered as extracurricular activities but as important subjects for potential job opportunities.”

Neogi highlights that unlike foreign countries, India lacks a structured policy that renders opportunities and exposure to aspirants of creative jobs. “There is a visible gap between the industry and academia that contributes to the ambiguity of students regarding their future. Thus, students often have no knowledge of the creative jobs available in the market, which makes it difficult for them to get established and also intensifies their parents’ distrust over such careers,” he says, adding that parents’ disapproval has triggered several of his students to drop out of film and video courses in the past.

Diversifying the job ecosystem

The rapid rate at which automation is underway across the world, it is not long that traditional jobs will completely take a backseat. To alleviate the impact of this shift, the tendency to groom students solely for the corporate culture needs to be changed.

“An array of new roles including comics publishing, animation and game design, instructional design and creative mentorship and counselling, among others have come up. Hence, we need more entrepreneurship in the field of arts and culture wherein creative people have the favourable time and space to learn from and teach one another,” says Chatterjee.

Besides automation, explains Neogi, in order to add more variety and colour to the Indian job market, parents and the Centre must collaborate in encouraging young minds to foray into creative fields.

“In foreign nations, individuals can freely chase their dreams and make a living out of their passion. Such an environment both educationally and professionally must be fostered in India so that students do not settle for unsatisfied careers that solely provides them with the benefits of a fat cheque and fixed working hours,” he says, adding that creative aspirants must be truly passionate and confident about their ambition before opting for niche careers.

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Vijendra Choudhary


Vijendra Choudhary is the Author & Co-Founder of the Arealnews.com. He has also completed his BCA & MCA in Computer Engineering from RTU Rajasthan. He is passionate about Blogging & Digital Marketing. He has 6+ years of Experience in Digital Marketing.