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Raj Raghavan on the jobs that will define India’s future

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

With half of its population under 25 and the unemployment rate at four-decade high, India faces an uncertain future. The question on young people’s minds: what kinds of jobs will we have? Quartz asked leaders across India’s biggest industries about that one job in their company or field that will be the most crucial in the coming decades.

While India’s air passenger traffic has grown at a scorching pace in the last five years, financially embattled airlines have not increased headcount. Vacancies for flight attendants, for instance, fell 80% between 2014 and 2019, according to job portal Indeed India. The grounding of India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, in April 2019 left as many as 18,000 employees in the lurch. Despite the turmoil, the sector is expected to create more jobs as airlines expand their fleet and the government’s UDAN scheme connects more regional routes.

Raj Raghavan, the senior vice president and head of human resources at IndiGo, India’s largest airline, told Quartz:

The most important skill is planning an airline’s network—what sectors to fly in, and at what frequencies. Network planners also manage pilots’ flying hours. Let’s say a pilot has to fly 1,000 hours a year, but she can’t fly 1,000 hours in six months and not be doing anything for the next six months. Network planning is as important as revenue management and helps determine how we use our aircraft. Network planners need numerical and statistical abilities. There is no course anywhere to learn this skill—we can’t go to IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) and ask for a network planner. Nobody teaches that. Workers acquire a lot of those skills through experience.

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