In today's fiercely competitive job market, the importance of a skilled workforce cannot be overstated as organizations strive to maintain a competitive edge. According to the World Economic Forum, approximately 50% of the workforce will need reskilling or upskilling by 2025 to meet evolving demands.
Data literacy has emerged as a critical skill in the job market, with projections indicating it will be the most sought-after skill by 2030. Surprisingly, only 11% of employees currently feel confident in their ability to work with data. Consequently, fostering an agile workforce becomes imperative to equip individuals with the necessary data literacy skills.
“With this in mind, both education institutions and businesses must do more to continuously upskill young people with modern data skills and build this confidence - as they will be indispensable regardless of what sector they choose to work in,” says James Fisher, chief strategy officer, Qlik.
In a world where AI, and now generative AI, is developing so rapidly, data holds more power than ever. “The ability to work effectively with this data can’t be acquired in a day, and what it means to be data literate is constantly changing and evolving with each technology innovation. “But by making learning in the workplace a deliberate and ongoing process, young employees will be well equipped with the data skills needed to build a pipeline of talent for the data-driven world of work we find ourselves in,” adds Fisher.
Gone are the days when skills once acquired will continue to be the same. A dynamic workforce is needed to keep pace with the ever-changing work landscape. Young people are advised to embrace the thrill of lifelong learning, let curiosity be their guide, and explore the vast realm of knowledge through education and practical experiences.
“As you embark on your professional journey, equip yourself with versatile skills that can transcend boundaries and propel you forward in any industry. Embrace a growth mindset, continuously adapting and evolving in an ever-changing landscape. Stay attuned to industry trends and market demands, becoming a trailblazer who anticipates the future. Remember, skill-building is a lifelong adventure that holds the key to unlocking a brilliant and boundless future. So, embark on this exhilarating journey with knowledge, enthusiasm, and an unwavering belief in your limitless potential,” says Lokesh Nigam, Co-founder & Director, Kognoz Research and Consulting.
Besides, forging meaningful connections, seeking mentorship, and opening doors to exciting opportunities are also important. Youth should be nimble, and resilient, and embrace challenges as stepping stones towards growth and excellence.
Be a proactive volunteer
To develop soft skills like communication, teamwork, time management, and the ability to embrace change and handle failures, the young generation needed to be proactive volunteers while in college.
“Stay aware of the industry trends by following industry-specific publications, join relevant online communities, engage in conversations about emerging technologies or changes in the job market. Be persistent and remain adaptable to change, and embrace new experiences as they come,” says Pramod Prabhakar, Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP), Wadhwani AI.
The future of work not only requires expertise in current technologies but also a foresight of skills needed for jobs that may exist tomorrow. While technical proficiency is important, softer skills and growth traits like cultural and emotional intelligence, critical thinking, judgment, leadership, and social influence will be equally vital.
“Young people should adopt a blended approach to learning, focusing on both advanced technologies and soft skills. They should start by exploring their natural talents and interests to discover passion-aligned career paths. Building a professional network in their chosen field can greatly enhance their chances of success. Lastly, embracing a growth mindset and resilience will help them navigate future challenges in their career journey,” says Francisca Godinho, HR Head-Tredence USA.
“By harnessing AI for good, we can strive towards a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous future. We can help empower individuals to become informed consumers, collaborators, and innovators in the realm of AI through education,” says Anand Mahurkar, Founder and CEO, Findability Sciences.
Measures for skill development
Mentorship and coaching programs play a crucial role in fostering the skills development of young employees. These programs can help young employees enhance their skills, build confidence, and accelerate their career growth.
“Mentorship programs provide young employees with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals who can guide them in their career path. Mentors can share their knowledge, expertise, and experiences, and provide feedback and support to help young employees improve their skills and performance. Coaches can provide feedback, support, and guidance to help young employees improve their skills and achieve their objectives,” says Arppna Mehra- VP, HR, Global Digital Transformation Solutions and HR Head for HARMAN India.
On how mentorship and coaching programs play a vital role in fostering the skills development of young employees, Vikram Ahuja, MD ANSR, CEO and Co-Founder Talent500 says that mentors can provide guidance, share valuable insights and experiences, and offer career advice. “They can help young employees navigate challenges, build confidence, and expand their professional networks. Coaching programs provide targeted support, helping individuals set goals, develop specific skills, and overcome obstacles in their career journey,” adds Ahuja.
Mentoring and coaching are key processes that help one build expertise, perspective and effectiveness at the workplace. “They go a long way in sharpening the managerial and leadership skills of a professional. For harder functional skills, processes like on-job training are proven to be very effective," says Prashant Pandey, President, Rotostat India, a subsidiary of ManpowerGroup.