Employment Quotient: When Skills meet Requirements
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The business environment today has become an extremely competitive space, raising the requirement for skilled manpower that can convert technological advancements into lucrative opportunities. While the demographic dividend has created a necessity of employability for millions of youth, this challenge is going to only increase further, since more than 75 per cent of new job opportunities is expected to be “skill-based” according to an industry report. The average age of India’s population will be 29 years by 2020, one of the lowest in the world. But with nearly 12 million youth joining the workforce in India every year, there will be a skill gap to the tune of 103.4 million skilled manpower by 2022, as per a National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) study.
The Government of India is therefore strongly emphasizing on upgrading skills through vocational education and in-depth training. It realizes that the country’s demographic strength cannot be fully obtained without fixing vocational education at the grassroots level. With this in mind, the National Policy on Skill Development has been formulated with a target for providing skills to 500 million people by 2022. There are other initiatives such as Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY), Pradhan Mantri Kaushalya Kendra (PMKK), National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) and several State Government led programs. The need of the hour is to create a long term and sustainable view of creating a large skilled workforce for the industry. This can be done by meeting employers’ skilling needs and preparing workers across age groups to earn livelihoods.
The Role of Governments, Industries and Training Partners
This can be achieved with the help of a co-operative effort between the government and industry players. While the government needs to ease the flow between supply and demand by reducing bottlenecks of infrastructure, empanelling credible training partners and empowering Sector Skill Councils to act as focal points between industry and TSD (Training & Skill Development) companies, industry players also have a role. They need to work closely with credible training partners to nurture skilled manpower from entry to career progression through skilling and re-skilling initiatives. This can catalyse the entire ecosystem into a spiralling virtuous cycle.
One essential factor is the deployment of effective skill development indicators that can bridge the gap between the skill demands of industries and the aspirations of the youth. Reports have shown that only 47per cent of skilled youth coming out of educational institutions are employable, and this is something that needs to be urgently improved. With skill development indicators that take macroeconomic factors into consideration, parties can identify skill gaps by demographics and location.
Training partners also need to contribute by continuing to invest in building their own infrastructure and facilities as they climb up the value chain from entry-level skilling to reskilling to upskilling and finally, imparting cutting-edge curricula such as AI, Data Sciences et al through Skill Universities.
In The Budget
One of the key focus areas in Budget 2018 was the use of increased technology in education—from the blackboard to the digital board and successful implementation of rising (Revitalizing of Infrastructure & Systems in Education) by 2022 with an investment of INR 1,00,000 crore. To achieve the target successfully, rightful tracking and monitoring are certainly required along with enormous effort from all ecosystem partners to execute it correctly. With these steps, it is time to take giant strides towards making India economically stronger and more progressive.
The workplace of the future will require Indian organizations to be cognizant of the factors that affect the socio-economic development of the country and orient themselves to create skilling protocols that prepare their employees for these circumstances. Reports have shown a scenario of three worlds – Orange (fragmented and smaller specialist companies), Green (collective companies that prioritize social responsibility) and Blue (individualistic companies that prolong capitalism) and it is up to companies today to determine where they stand in this matrix.
Governments and industry players must collaborate today to create a network of skilled manpower for the industry across urban and rural markets. By pursuing a more integrated approach to skill development, the country can look to make necessary structural adjustments to its employment strategies as a means to optimize productivity. It is essential that we change our perception of skilling. Skill training should be viewed as an integral part of our mainstream education, rather than being viewed as a substitute. Only by pursuing such a path can the industry truly progress and ensure that it makes a telling contribution to the country’s growth.