It is getting more evident that the gap between skills required by industry and those getting churned out from academic institutions is only getting wider, leading to the possibility of large-scale unemployment in future. However, if one examines employability closely, the fitment issue is not just at the entry level as one may think, but across all levels of the hierarchy. Finding the right person for the job is becoming a big challenge. Hence there’s need for some serious thinking to avert a big problem of unemployment.
Stakeholders of employment - academia, industry, vocational institutions, technology solution providers and government, need to come together to find a solution that would bring jobs and people together, thereby increasing the employment factor in the country. India has the potential to not only provide employment to its own people but also be an attractive destination for talented resources from across the globe. This idea may appear far-fetched in the current situation where organizations are rationalizing manpower on one hand and screaming for right-skilled resources on the other, business predictability is at an all time low, and international policies on visas seem to be protecting jobs for local citizens. Engineering and management graduates are barely able to sustain a career based on their academic qualifications. How can skill development enable opportunities for the bulk of the population?
Let’s take a leaf out of IPL and what it did to the game – cricket.
In its tenth year, Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most popular cricketing event, blending sport with entertainment to make a new concoction that’s very intoxicating. Despite facing several hurdles from within and outside, IPL not only survived in its form but has also grown in stature to a point where foreign players are longing to play in IPL much more than playing for their own countries. IPL has done some things right!
IPL created a platform that showcased skills –from raw talent to the highly refined skills compete for a fixed period of time. The platform projects performance – even well-established players who didn’t perform well got sidelined. Player contracts are based on an auction method that is very transparent. However, for auctioning to be effective a lot of information about each player got compiled and franchisees used these data points along with their analytics to forecast the team’s composition for a given price band. Sourcing talented players from the length and breadth of the country became a very crucial task. Unknown players with right skill and attitude got an opportunity to play with and against some highly accomplished players and they got noticed. In a nutshell, IPL provided talented players an opportunity to ‘Get Noticed’.
It is a team effort
But IPL wasn’t about players alone. Skilled coaches, managers, physiotherapists, umpires, commentators, match referees, analysts, etc. started getting opportunities to perform. Thanks to the reach of technology, sourcing of such varied talents became much easier and soon IPL became the watering hole for merchandisers, brand management, sports education, and many other business activities that wished to get connected with the population that followed IPL. An ecosystem evolved around the game that offered a livelihood to a large population.
In the context of employment, a skilling platform is required that can showcase various kinds of skills possessed by people seeking employment and wishing to get noticed by organizations.
Skill isn’t just an entry level requirement or for temporary jobs. Evolved skills are required for higher responsible jobs. Relevant skills are required all through one’s professional career, which may change or get refined with time and progress. Blue and white collar jobs can ask for an audio-video display/demonstration of skills from candidates besides the traditional written format of bio-data. Further, technology can be used to connect people possessing relevant skills with the companies looking for those skills on the platform to create an employment opportunity.
Opportunity has a unique ability to help people hone existing skills or acquire new skills, which otherwise they may be reluctant to do. If a candidate is rejected against a particular job opportunity because of an inadequate skill, it is quite likely that the candidate would try to acquire that skill with fervor, hoping to get that coveted job. At this juncture, s/he would reach out to vocational institutions or seek personal advice/coaching to improve herself/himself. Thus, an opportunity is created for vocational institutions, coaches, mentors and other skill enabling agencies. A universe of skill seeker (candidate), enabler (vocational and educational institutions) and the hirer (organization) is formed, which gives the ‘Get Noticed’ opportunity to each one of them.
Digital technology enabling development of a 'Skills' platform
The digital economy is getting a strong impetus in the country while technology is also advancing rapidly. Reliability of digital infrastructure is getting to be at par with the best in the world, for a complex and diverse population comprising varied belief systems, practices and desires to adopt a common platform. Prospects of employment connect across this heterogeneous population and across educational qualifications and economic strata. A national level platform will give all seekers of job and those seeking to employ right skills an opportunity to get connected and assess each other in a manner that goes far beyond what a job portal or an employment exchange promises to offer. Identifying skills as well as providing an opportunity to upgrade or acquire relevant skills is what the platform would do, thus bringing the job seeker in touch with the job provider across the nation.
A national level platform will give all seekers of job and those seeking to employ right skills an opportunity to get connected and assess each other in a manner that goes far beyond what a job portal or an employment exchange promises to offer. Identifying skills as well as providing an opportunity to upgrade or acquire relevant skills is what the platform would do, thus bringing the job seeker in touch with the job provider across the nation.
Just like IPL brings together different skills like opening and middle-order batsmen; fast, medium and slow bowlers; wicket keepers, fielders, etc. to form a proper team, a skill platform will similarly bring the electricians, plumbers, house-keepers, masons, drivers, maids, data entry operators, analysts, programmers, managers, executives and leaders in contact with the right jobs, in the context of an organisation. IPL’s success is that it has given many people an opportunity to critically and dispassionately assess their relevant skills in the context of Cricket. The ‘Skills’ platform would likewise enable candidates to acquire or develop skills that are relevant in the context of a job, and thus get gainfully employed!
IPL’s success is that it has given many people an opportunity to critically and dispassionately assess their relevant skills in the context of Cricket. The ‘Skills’ platform would likewise enable candidates to acquire or develop skills that are relevant in the context of a job, and thus get gainfully employed!