At a time when the workplace is undergoing a seismic shift, upskilling is the need of the hour
With more graduates entering the workforce, the problem of unemployment seems to be increasing. Some blame it on lack of opportunity, others see lack of skill among candidates.
The shift towards automation, digitisation and analytics has made it imperative for students to acquire new skill sets. Familiarity and expertise in various areas of technology such as Augmented/Virtual Reality, blockchain, cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are now in demand.
Another factor driving the demand for new skills is the introduction of policies like GST, which require experts.
Mismatched supply and demand
Indians have traditionally emphasised the STEM model of education and landing white-collar jobs. But academia hasn’t evolved with changing times. Most institutes and colleges are still producing engineers with the same skill sets that their predecessors possessed over a decade ago. This has led to a mismatch between demand and supply.
For the most part, companies are moving away from the idea of re-skilling/upskilling and towards the concept of right skilling.
Being smart matters
Given the increasing rate and scale of change, it is inevitable that most of us will have to deal with a significant degree of change in our professional lives. One of the most effective ways of achieving growth without compromising is to create a foundation of inclusive growth through skill development.
Students must get out of their comfort zones and learn to navigate a world of diverse cultures and beliefs. Skills such as communication, empathy, listening and the ability to play nice with others are now valuable.
Moreover, learning a single new skill will not be enough; there is clearly a case to go back to the good old multiskilling method. Adopting a lifecycle approach to skill development will ensure that the skills imparted are linked to the job market.
Unemployment is a major problem now and surveys indicate that, in India, the rate is a high 23.5%. The missing link that generates employment opportunities is skill development.
Technology is advancing faster than one can adapt to, upending the job market and delivering unimaginable jolts to values and patterns of thinking. Closing the skill gap requires that educators and employers work together to provide the best form of skilling and adjustment mechanisms that students can implement in all walks of life.
The writer is Co-Founder and CEO, edWisor.