Cogito Consulting, the specialised brand and marketing consultancy company of DraftFCB + Ulka Group, has sought to understand the outlook of young executives in India in its study called Cogito OYE ’09.
The Cogito OYE ’09 (Outlook of Young Executives) is a two-phased study, pre- and post- the general elections, among young executives which looks at what has been the impact of the sudden swing of events on their resiliency. The study aims to answer questions that arise in the minds of analysts and marketers – how has the lifestyle of young executives been impacted, how has their mindset towards work, shopping, leisure, investments and relationships changed, how does this impact their spending patterns, etc. The study was covered around 200 young executives across Mumbai and the methodology involved focus groups and quantitative research.
While the ‘popular’ sentiment is that India is indeed affected by the recession, more than 70 per cent of the respondents are optimistic about an early comeback. The apprehension, however, intensifies where one’s career is concerned. Higher expectations from employers and increased competition for fewer jobs are pushing young executives to the wall. While layoffs are a reality that they have accepted, salary cuts are seen as an acceptable option to layoffs.
The recent elections seem to have reduced the apprehension to some extent. Over 50 per cent of the young executives are still optimistic about some level of salary increase and 85 per cent of respondents are expecting a status quo or a marginal increase as against 78 per cent in the pre-election phase.
On the factor of modifying shopping behaviour, the belief is that it is not necessary to compromise on one’s lifestyle and one can continue to live well if they manage their money well. They are clearly prioritising their ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ set of needs and accordingly trimming or postponing expenditure.
Young executives have become more risk averse and are playing safer. Their confidence in high fluctuation investments like shares and gold is diminishing and they prefer to invest in stable return instruments like fixed deposits.
In regards to relationships and family, the downturn seems to have reaffirmed the faith that family is the only security that one can hold onto always. Today’s youth are still spending to show their love for family and friends; just that the way they express it is a bit different as a consequence of the slowdown. ‘Meet ups’ and ‘Chill outs’ are no longer associated as “impromptu expenses” with people now opting to meet post dinner in the evenings so that socialising no longer comes at a cost.
The broad trends that emerge reveal that while there is a sense of fear and apprehension in the atmosphere, today’s young executives believe that a solution is possible for every problem, if one is prepared to look at it a bit differently and positively. The recent political developments have only added to their optimism.
While the current economic downturn has brought the young Indian executives down to earth from their roller coaster high, they show no signs of scars from the swing of events.