How Reskilling and Upskilling Opportunities With Edtech Can Benefit the IT Industry We'll tell you how regular training keeps employees engaged and helps boost employee retention rates

By Nikhil Barshikar

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The skills required for the jobs of today are changing rapidly. Entire industries are in the midst of a massive transformation brought on by the advent of new technologies. According to a NASSCOM report, nearly 40% of India's total workforce needs re-skilling over the next 5 years, to keep up with technology trends like automation that are pervading every major industry. In such a technological landscape, the IT industry is waking up to an ever-rising demand for skilled talent and a dismal supply of such talent at the same time.

The widening skill gap in the IT industry:

The gap between the demand and supply of skilled talent is further widened by the lack of adaptability among professionals in the IT/ITeS (IT-enabled Services), while industry requirements only continue to evolve for advanced technical skills. According to the Talent Shortage Survey 2017 conducted by the ManpowerGroup, nearly 40 percent employers globally responded that they face an acute shortage of qualified and skilled professionals with the right functional expertise to occupy unfilled job roles. This lack of skilled talent within the IT industry and its allied sectors leads to organisations being left out of the opportunities in the market. Digital technology and edtech have the ability to offer a much-needed boost to the workforce within IT/ITeS industry, and by extension, to the overall economy as well.

Why reskilling?

While the Indian IT industry has managed to grow and evolve in the past two decades, it currently faces a challenge that is only intensifying with each passing day. New, emerging technologies like Big Data analytics, AI, and Machine Learning demand the IT industry to be more agile and adaptive than ever before. Hence, one way to ensure that happens is if organisations invest both time and money into reskilling and upskilling their workforce. No employer wants to hire people who can be replaced by machines. What they need are skilled professionals who can bring certain unique qualities to the table and add greater value as compared to the overall workforce out there. This has another important implication, which is that job security is fairly low unless employees are equipped with the latest professional and technical skills. IT professionals, in particular, are today expected to be equipped with skills in big data, analytics, cloud computing, and security. For instance, cross-functional training is a highly impactful element of reskilling as it makes professionals more employable, along with providing them with complementary skills to enhance their overall expertise. Upskilling and reskilling employees can lead to the following benefits for organisations:

  • Increased Productivity: Many organisations that have integrated education technology into their learning and development programs have reported a positive correlation between employee training and engagement. When employees have the means, the skills, and the confidence to ensure a steady career progression, their contribution to their job roles is also more effective.

  • Cost-effective: Regular learning and development programs designed by organisations to reskill their employees are a much more cost-effective alternative as compared to hiring new employees and spending time and resources to train them.

But how should organisations approach learning and development for employees?

By enabling and encouraging employees to choose their career paths by making them responsible for their personal development, thereby prompting them to make prudent decisions about furthering their prospects for growth. Employees who are conscious of their freedom to take decisions regarding their career progression are more likely to take ownership over their professional and personal growth. Moreover, incentivising learning and skill development for employees by rewarding them can drive the importance of reskilling and upskilling in their minds when they themselves see the benefits to them in their careers, as well as personally.

The findings from a recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute say that between 400 million and 800 million of today's jobs will be automated by 2030. This only puts things into much better perspective for the IT industry, for which the only way towards growth is by way of constant reskilling of its workforce. Upskilling and reskilling have proven to have a positive impact on organisational productivity. Regular training keeps employees engaged and helps boost employee retention rates. Organisations would benefit greatly by investing in learning and development programs for employees by collaborating with online learning and skilling platforms. In today's age, organisations can deal with the massive digital disruption and grow further only as long as they are prepared to invest in their employees and in helping them acquire the skills and expertise they need to succeed in their job roles.

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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