The world of work has been changing profoundly and this has brought in both opportunities and challenges, such as skills imbalance and talent mismatch. Clearly to thrive in today’s global, digital and innovation driven economy, job seekers and employers need a different mix of skills than in the past. Creating agile and entrepreneurial workforce is becoming the basic need to stay in step with the rapid pace of changes in skill demand.
Recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report states that in 2016 - 17 China is estimated to grow at 6.6 %, the US at 1.6% and India at 7.6%. Also, the third edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2015-16 ranks India in the 89th position out of 109 countries indicating the country’s ability to grow, attract and retain talent. As per these statistics, India will now be one of the world’s fastest-growing large economies. Since the country’s growth outlook is going so strong, the business confidence is also reaching new highs with government initiatives like Make in India, ‘Start Up India, Stand Up India’ and Skill India.
Now the challenge for the country is to sustain this performance by providing high-quality jobs and ensuring undeviatingly rising incomes. Also, with all the growth, on one hand, India still, faces the issue of youth unemployment with more than 45% of the population being under the age of 25. As a testament to this one can look at the manufacturing sector that is considered as one of the largest employment providing sector in the country. It still suffers from a lack of basic infrastructure facilities like water, power, and sanitation. India must aim at rectifying these problems first and start embracing new digital industrial technologies that will secure long-term competitiveness in such sectors. This will have a direct impact on efficiency and productivity of the workforce.
Speaking on digital technologies, they will be the game changers in the coming years and the only way to gain access to these technologies is through digital literacy. Digital literacy will be an absolutely essential component of anyone’s preparedness for the workplace and the need for this in a country as populous and diverse as India is critical. Digital skills must be taught as a core subject and should be treated with utmost importance. This has to go beyond just the nuts and bolts of how to use a computer. With a constant tug-of-war between resources and requirements, digital literacy is the only way to scale up solutions and bridge the gaps. Not only do white-collar jobs require digital literacy in the use of media to present, record and analyze data, but so do blue-collar jobs that are looking for ways to increase productivity and analyze market trends, along with increased job safety. The fact is, a professional who fails to upgrade their digital skills will simply fall behind — and fast. This means that even the most adept employees will see a lag in efficiency if they aren’t keeping pace with advancing technology. The key is to have sustained efforts by harnessing collective energies, strengthening partnerships and leveraging them to pull down the divisive digital wall.
Apart from this, the other action point that should be followed to better the work experience and employability of the youngsters is through better equipping them with the right hard and soft skills that today’s businesses are crying out for. At Adecco, we have unique programs such as ‘Adecco Way2Work’ and ‘CEO for one month’. These programs are crafted keeping in mind the overall professional development of the individual. This has helped thousands of youngsters across the globe in getting their dream job.
Therefore, in order to progress further and be competitive, the youth needs to be embedded with new and effective skill sets instead of just focusing on getting degrees that offers nothing that the job market desires. High investment in human capital development through modern training programs in schools, colleges and at workplaces would ensure a long-term vision for the country. By combining elements such as these: creating an agile and entrepreneurial workforce, leveraging technical skills in manufacturing and prioritizing digital literacy India can surely reach greater heights of success.
In a nutshell, the basis of any skills strategy should ensure a strong foundation in necessary skills and tighter links between the worlds of education and work. This can be achieved only through good quality education, awareness of changes in demand for skills, training and development systems that are receptive to structural changes in economy and society.