The International Labour Organization (ILO) is of the opinion that India is staring at a 29 million skill-deficit by 2030. Accenture’s projection is that the skill gap in India will cause a loss of $1.97 trillion in terms of gross domestic product promised by investment in intelligent technologies over the 10 years if it is not controlled.
There are many factors that are attributed to causing the skill gap in India, however, experts point out that while the basic concepts and principles are present in the college curriculum, there exists a gap in the teaching and learning pedagogy being followed. With 15 million youngsters entering the workforce each year, corporate India and research institutes seem to agree that 65-75% are not job ready or are unemployable. Research has it that the problem of the skill gap in India boils down to the low levels of youth employability across the country.
On one hand the gap exists in hard skills such as technology and know how and on the other hand the gap also exists in human skills. The skill gap in India has hit the IT sectors the most. According to IBM, at present, there is a shortage of at least three million cyber-security professionals in India. The shortcomings in soft skills such as communication, grooming, self-confidence , self-awareness, goal orientation, interpersonal skills and the lack of exposure to the industry are greatly responsible for no hiring from campuses in spite of the existence of the vacancies.
To address the skills shortage, recruiters are shifting their focus to hiring professionals with the ability to adapt to changing roles in flexible organizational structures. On a softer side, recruiters would be looking for graduates who are resilient, solution-oriented and innovative. This indicates that the employment opportunity of individuals with relevant human skills which enable them to adapt , analyze, problem solve and have people skills, have better chances of being hired.
Even though the personality traits such as interpersonal skills , self-awareness, self-confidence and goal orientation are a part of one’s upbringing and are learnt by a person over a period of time, there are certain interventions such as counselling and training which can nudge certain latent attributes of one’s personality. Personality development programs can help in awakening an individual to self-awareness and realization of potential within. Right counselling enhances the self confidence in an individual by creating focus on personal strengths. Personal grooming and the do’s and don’ts of human-to-human interactions can be taught in workshops. Communication skills such as English language can be taught in classrooms.
Students and Institutes should focus on those industries for placements which are growing in the current situation .Medical science and bio sciences research is expected to see a heavy inflow of funds. Agricultural scientists and food technologists are also emerging careers. Big data and fin-tech are other high growth areas with handsome packages on account of scarce talent. Clearly, data science, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other similar industries would be booming. They may even consider environment and sustainability as these have now become mainstream.”
There will be a change in the way companies hire. Recruiters will rely on robotic technology for the selection process to make it free from human error and bias. AI-powered software can also scrutinize job networks and envisage success rates by checking the online presence of the candidate. More and more companies will be opting for these programmes to meet the high standards. Therefore, students should be careful about their postings on the social media, because it also forms a part of their portfolio.
Those seeking jobs in difficult times need to focus beyond the normal, be flexible, upskill and be ready to negotiate, according to the industry, look at all that one can do to be more employable amid the economic instability. Upskilling and practicing patience is essential in the face of the pandemic that we are witnessing.
Written by Rohini Vaishnavi
Founder – R V Learning Foundation