Despite being the fastest developing country in the world, India’s unemployment numbers are worrying. This gap arises due to the lack of “work-ready” candidates. Being work-ready is a popular term in the process of recruitment today. In a sea of prospective candidates, all vying for the same few job profiles, the right candidate is often identified based on the work readiness displayed.
What is work-readiness?
Work readiness essentially implies to the skills and experience gathered by an individual beyond their formal education that makes them more adaptive to a working environment. Formal education in India is often akin to being in a bubble with students often lacking the practical skills and adaptability necessary to survive in a competitive job corporate environment.Surveys indicate that although 15 million youngsters enter the Indian workforce every year, only 25-35% of them are actually employable and equipped with new-age skills. This staggering figure showcases the extent of the lack of job-readiness in the Indian job market, thus, providing an astute reasoning for the country’s unemployment rates.
There is a stark difference that an individual experiences during the transition between being a student and being a professional. Being work-ready is essentially about being able to cross into these roles seamlessly. Students without practical skills often have a hard time with the transition and are unable to handle the pressures of being in a corporate environment. Being work-ready is, therefore, not only about finding the right job but also the ability to stay in employment and transition effectively in case of a change in job roles.
What does it mean to be work ready?
Identifying skills beyond formal education
The most essential aspect of being work-ready is developing the right set of soft skills, especially communication and interpersonal skills. Such skills are crucial in an individual when working in a team environment that is prevalent in most organizations today. The ability to work effectively in a team, while showcasing initiative by an individual, is an integral part of showing work-readiness. Additionally, skills like problem-solving and critical thinking depict an ability to be able to look at situations from new perspectives, which is an invaluable asset to an organization in a competitive market.
Role of work experience
Work experience plays another vital aspect in defining the work-readiness of an individual. For fresh graduates, this can seem daunting, but that is a myth. Investing time early on into part-time internships or freelance projects during free time is an excellent way to depict experience. The experience and skills that are acquired on-the-job are invaluable and cannot be taught in a classroom. Thus, the importance of live projects in educational institutions has increased to ensure work-readiness in students. Freelance projects are another way to learn about the cogs of different industries within the chosen roles. Such candidates with relevant internships and freelance projects on their CV can play an integral part in not only the quality of work at an organization but can also significantly reduce costs in the on-boarding process such as initial training.
Developing relevant technical skills
In an environment that is rapidly changing, owing to the advent of technology and evolving job cultures and functions, it is incredibly vital for an individual to update his technical skills even after they have graduated. For example, aspects like Social Media Marketing or Search Engine Optimization wasn’t an integral part of the marketing strategies of organizations before. However, with the growth in internet, they have become necessities. Therefore, an individual must be equipped with such technical skills to understand such functions. Therefore, short part-time courses to constantly update to stay relevant in the market are extremely important in today’s industry.
How can organizations make their employees work-ready?
Lastly, being and staying job-ready is not an effort put only on an individual’s part but also the organization. Periodical corporate training to keep employees updated with new technologies and refreshing the fundamentals is an essential, but often forgotten, step for an organization in maintaining the work-readiness factor among their employees. While employees can put in their effort in staying relevant to the industry, it would be a much more efficient way for organizations to allow employees to periodically check in with the skill-sets in their repertoires and allow them easy access to quality training. Thus, employees would not only be more self-aware but also consciously take steps to maintain their status in the industry today.
Job-readiness is therefore, about being a well-rounded person that not only has theoretical knowledge but also understands the nuances of practical knowledge and skills necessary to work in a corporate environment. Perhaps, the most important thing to note is that becoming work-ready is not an overnight concept but something that has to be maintained through continuous efforts not only on an individual level but also an organizational level.