Article: Are Indian businesses upskilling engineers effectively?


Are Indian businesses upskilling engineers effectively?

Indian businesses upskill engineers to retain talent but need to align programmes with preferences and use cases for innovation and competitiveness.
Are Indian businesses upskilling engineers effectively?

Over 47% of engineers consider leaving their roles in search of opportunities to grow and expand their skill sets—something that they feel comes to a halt after spending a few years in an organisation. On the flip side, businesses are grappling to find engineering resources while balancing the steep budget cuts brought on by the economic headwinds. 

As a result, 61% of businesses in India have started investing in upskilling their engineering talent to increase their retention rates. But are they doing it the right way? A recent report from Scaler found that over 91% of engineers stated that problem-solving is a skill they’d like to hone, trumping all technical skills, but businesses often tend to focus on emerging technologies. There is a clear disconnect between the initiative of wanting to retain and train existing tech resources versus what the resources are looking for. 

But now, with Gen-Z entering the workforce, businesses have the opportunity to start on the right foot and equip them with abilities to fuel business and professional growth from the get-go. From a budget standpoint, training and upskilling existing resources can cut long-term costs and help businesses maximise the potential of their workforce. On this National Engineering Day, there’s merit in looking at how businesses can upskill their engineers the right way.

Are the leaders trained to address the skill gaps?
Technology is always evolving and the practices in the tech industry should be no exception. People in leadership positions can foster change, encouraging their team to view upskilling as a crucial tool in their professional development. But to get leaders to nurture this type of environment, businesses need to train their leaders to lead by example. 

Whether it's first-time managers or C-suite leaders, there are no limits to learning. Leaders who strive to learn more can encourage their team to follow suit. Not to mention, acquiring a wide array of technical expertise will equip them to better identify the skill gaps within their teams and recommend measures to upskill accordingly.

Prioritising skill sets
Whether it is on an individual level or from a team standpoint, understanding the performance pain points can be an important step towards assessing appropriate upskilling programs. A team that solely focuses on AI, for instance, will need to stay up to date with the advancements in AI and its related tools. But what if some members of the team are interested in honing their knowledge in machine learning? They absolutely can pursue their interests, but skills can be prioritised based on the tasks at hand. 

Moreover, upskilling priorities can be assessed based on the experience levels of the team members. According to a report by PluralSight, tech resources, regardless of their experience levels, expect more direction and guidance from their leaders. So, those who are just starting can benefit from learning more about their area of expertise and mastering their craft, while those with more experience can branch out and learn a range of different skill sets to add to their portfolio. By tweaking and personalising their learning goals, businesses can build a stronger connection with their engineers, increasing their long-term retention rates.

Staying ahead of the curve
According to a recent State of Upskilling report, engineers are usually unsure of how to apply their newly acquired skills to their work. This way, upskilling could turn out to be counterproductive in the long run, hindering innovation. 

Being a thriving economy, Indian firms need to compete with both global and national IT players. Innovation is undeniably important and investing in internal upskilling is directly proportional to the scale of innovation. Hence, businesses have the responsibility to ensure that their engineers also learn how to apply their takeaways to their projects.

There’s always more to upskill 
Technical upskilling should not be viewed with the ROI lens. It sure is an investment that can provide great returns, but thinking of it as a business transaction can reduce its quality. During economic slowdowns, investing in talent can significantly improve the quality of a business's output and reputation.

Globally, six in ten engineers will require skill-based training by 2027, but presently, only half of them have the opportunity to upskill. As with most things, the way businesses operate is changing at a much faster rate today than ever before, and there’s only so much that outdated talent can bring to the table without adequate support and investments. Engineers aren’t limited to tech firms anymore, and their skills shouldn’t be limited to what they once started with either.

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Topics: Skilling, Leadership

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