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Top Trends In Upskilling: The Urgent Employee Demand For the Younger Generation With technology advancing at lightning speed, digital transformation has taken over workplaces and creating a need for employees to be more tech-savvy, especially the younger generation

By Nikhil Barshikar

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Imagine a scenario where life as we know it comes to a screeching halt and every aspect of our life is transformed overnight. This is precisely what the world is currently facing owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly, the way we work has perhaps been changed forever. With technology advancing at lightning speed, digital transformation has taken over workplaces and creating a need for employees to be more tech-savvy, especially the younger generation.

The pandemic has left the job market in a deplorable condition, and although certain sectors have restarted hiring activity, the loss of jobs has been immense. According to a joint report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), as many as 41 lakh youths in the country lost their jobs since the onset of the pandemic that has hit several sectors hard.

Even as the economy gradually gets back on its feet and businesses reopen, there is no doubt that the future of the workplace is going to be extremely different than the one in pre-pandemic times. Post-COVID businesses will seek out and hire employees who constantly upskill and reskill themselves, making acquiring skills vital to career growth and progress. To understand this better, let us take a look at some of the trends witnessed in the younger generation when it comes to upskilling.

Millennials and upskilling: A clearly mapped path to success

India is often called the nation of the youth and with good reason. India has one of the largest percentages of millennials, 426 million, which comprises over 34 per cent of the country's total population. Millennials today no longer enter the workplace without a clear goal. Not only do they have a clear goal, but they also map out their path to success—upskilling themselves. An increasing number of millennials in the country's workforce is demanding upskilling opportunities from their employers. Additionally, the popular opinion is they also expect to be rewarded and recognized for their efforts and to be presented with opportunities to take on new challenges, learn and grow.

This year's downturn and the dark clouds of recession looming over the world due to the pandemic have further paved the way for millennials to gain a fresh perspective and set different expectations compared with the previous generation. They also inherently understand that to remain in the market without becoming redundant, upskilling and reskilling are crucial to staying on the cusp of ever-evolving trends.

Evolving workplaces

As the younger generation expects ample growth prospects, employers are now racing to ensure that employees are given unrestricted access to upskilling opportunities that can help them progress quickly. Employers who fail to provide upskilling opportunities and resources run the risk of losing top talent from their company. Particularly in certain sectors such as BFSI and technology where there is a constant need to stay updated with the ever-evolving industry trends, employers are focussing more on enabling employees to hone their skills and acquire new ones.

Apart from on-the-job training, companies are now turning to professional education firms, forming partnerships with them, to offer employees wider prospects in terms of skill development. Professional education firms provide necessary training and expertise to help the young generation of employees not only understand the nuances of their respective fields but also implement the concepts learned in the real world, thereby making them future-ready.

Key trends

While the pandemic continued to wreak havoc across countries and economies, a greater realization dawned upon the youth to upskill and be more relevant to the corporate world. Finance graduates considered picking up focused certification programs in investment banking like CIBOP. Young professionals showed great interest in data science, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech and more. Young marketers realized the power of digital marketing leading to a sharp surge in demand for digital marketing programs. Specialisation emerged to be the key. The youth realized that for them to be competitive in a new tech enable world, their regular graduation certificates weren't enough. This led to a huge demand for all such specialist, new-age career programs at edtech brands.


The need to upskill employees is only set to become more pertinent given the breakneck pace at which technology is evolving and the pandemic has only made this more urgent making it imperative for employers and employees to adapt to changing scenarios. Continuous, relevant upskilling can deliver great value to the younger generation of employees, and collective effort coupled with coordinated ideas will make them more resilient and prevent employers from losing out on talent.

Nikhil Barshikar

Founder and Managing Director, Imarticus Learning

His fifteen year career spans a variety of roles within Investment Banking, all of which culminated in the founding of Imarticus Learning, a leading player in Investment Banking & Data Analytics education. He began his career in the Corporate Finance division of the erstwhile Lehman Brothers at New York, following which he moved to Mumbai to set up Lehman's India operations. He has successfully managed large Operations, Technology, and Project teams at Nomura. His in-depth Investment Banking experience, ranging from strategic design to risk-free transition while handling large people driven organizations, has given him an excellent appraisal of the dilemmas faced by Financial Services and Analytics Consulting firms. This enables him to develop tailor-made strategies and solutions.

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