Industry 4.0 has become very prominent today where the industrial revolution is driving multiple changes in the way businesses to operate. Intervention of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation and big data are redefining job roles and skilling requirements. The focus on re-skilling and up-skilling to maximize human workforce value is becoming more crucial. Every year, more than 12 lakh of new graduates enter the job market. However, only around 1/4th of these graduates are equipped with the skills required by the industry.
The traditional practice of taking a job in a reputed company, working for 30+ years, retiring with good compensation & pension benefits is now becoming extinct in many sectors. Now the average service life in a single job is around 2.5 to 3 years. This rapid pace of change in jobs is leading to a growing demand for advanced skill training. The responsibility of skilling is not just imperative to the employers by the ownership must lie with candidates as well. Taking ownership is all about taking the proactive initiative to explore one’s own growth, recognize the need to skill, identify gaps in existing skills and adopt new skilling methods. .
An employee while joining has a core set of skills which helps him in starting his career. Over time, he becomes more proficient in these skills eventually becoming an expert in some of them and additionally adding in-depth knowledge of other soft skills. Upskilling by organizations has become a mandated norm but an employee cannot always rely on the organization to take up the responsibility for their career growth and skilling requirements. For e.g. a sales representative can up-skill himself/herself by adding marketing/analytic skills to his portfolio. The up-skilling helps employee transition from one sector to another smoothly thereby creating a diverse pool of employment opportunities
As skills belong to the employee and not the company, the employee must have the ultimate ownership and control of their own skill records. Companies may help entrusted people learn new skills but employee need to park aside their old expertise and develop new expertise by learning relevant skills. For e.g. a draftsman has to learn CAD to realign and continue his profile as a designer and a financial auditor or a taxation guy has to learn GST methods to adjust to the changing trend of Economy.
To a certain extent, companies are ready to invest in up-skilling and re-skilling their employees. But the bigger concern by companies investing in re-skilling is the return on investment. The company will look at the costing as some of the skills required are highly priced and require huge investments. On the contrary, it is more cost effective for companies to just acquire a new skilled worker in cognitive staffing rather than re-skilling the current set of people, who may not be interested in serving long terms for the company. Eventually, re-skilling & up-skilling becomes a tertiary priority for the company. And it falls to the responsibility of employees for their survival in the market as industry demand constantly evolves. Employees will have to engage in life-long learning if they want to achieve success and rewarding careers.
According to a report on workforce re-skilling by the World Economic Forum, one in four adults reported a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they need for their current job. Currently, the half-life of a job skill is about five years meaning that every five years; the skill that you have is about half as required as it was before. Employees have to get ahead of this declining trend of skills. To access the skill requirement one has to check every year at least twice about their future growth pattern. The questions one needs to ask oneself are very simple and have become crucial for survival:
- Does the skill I possess, enough to achieve the current goals in the company, or do I need new skills to a better my position & growth?
- Are the skills which I need to acquire attainable, and with this can I achieve success and catapult my growth?
Reskilling does not have to mean massive training efforts. Usually, 50% is learnt from day-to-day tasks, challenges and practice. Another 20 % from an employee’s ‘Social Collaborative Network’ of colleagues, friends & families, which leaves 30 % to re-learn & re-skill. It is important to do thorough research before making a decision. The employee must decide on the kind of reskilling required:
• Foundational Skill
• Domain & Technical skill
• Business & Management Skill
• Communication & Behavioural Etiquettes
Similarly, they must decide on the level at which reskilling must be approached:
The employees should start noticing changing trends of the industry and preparing for it. For e.g. a commercial transport driver can see that Ola & Uber cabs trends have changed the transport industry in the last five years. R&D is in progress for autonomous vehicles around the world and this trend is likely to pose a threat to their employment within the next five to 10 years. Rather than wait for their current skills to get redundant, it is imperative for them to re-skill themselves to be ready for the coming changes in the landscape.
There is a stress on the increasing need for skilled personnel. With new developments and advancements in the industry, every sector, be it logistics, manufacturing, real estate or services, will soon face a crisis of skilled workforce. It is important that employees up-skill themselves to stay relevant in their field. As the saying goes “Known is a drop & unknown is an ocean”, everyone will have a significant role in bridging the skills gap and advance their learning cycle. It will help them in attaining success not only in career but also led to their personal wellbeing and growth.