What is more challenging, an unemployed workforce or lack of skilled candidates?
India sees a multitude of students entering colleges every year. According to a report, the gross enrollment ratio of learners increased from 25.8% in 2017-18 to 26.3% in 2018-19. Hence, we witnessed a surge in enrollments from 3.66 crores to 3.74 crores. As per an online magazine, this percentage can further shoot up to 65%. What does this imply?
In layman’s terms, more students graduating means a greater number of candidates entering the workforce or looking for jobs. With unemployment touching an all-time high in India earlier this year, it is evident that the employers have become selective with their hiring. A highly competitive job market is only snowballing the existing employment problem in our country. While some experts point a finger at the lack of opportunities, there can be other factors to blame, such as dearth of skills amongst jobseekers.
The world around us is evolving and we need to adapt
We are living in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A look around us makes it obvious that we are surrounded by artificial intelligence, from virtual assistants on our phones and in homes to self-driving cars and drones. Impressive progress has been made in recent years, driven by exponential increases in computing power and vast amounts of data. Engineers, designers, and architects are combining computational design, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer new technology, as we speak.
In fact, even the simplest changes in government policies or the introduction of a new taxation scheme may also generate a need for a whole new skillset. Many factors could be the culprit behind creating an unemployable candidate. The current employment landscape is beginning to present candidates with a tough choice to either acquire the right skillset or get left behind. As Indians, we have put a lot of emphasis on the traditional education model. Unfortunately, it seldom encourages students to look beyond bookish knowledge. Our academic model has stuck to its age-old ways and job seekers are paying the price.
What we have vs What we need
Sticking to the conventional approach is the root cause of all the problems in our education system. And perhaps, the prime reason for a huge mismatch between the skills required and the skills available. Undoubtedly, tailoring pedagogy to new-age job requirements is no less than a challenge. But there should be a close-knit structure between the industry, the government, and academia to create awareness and prepare candidates for new-age workplaces.
Institutions and organizations need to address the problem by providing IT students with soft-skills training so that they can develop better language, communication skills, and problem-solving skills, which will help them manage cross-functional teams.
It is by now established that a superior market-aligned workforce is the need of the hour. The workforce rules are changing, and job seekers must learn to adapt fast, while simultaneously unlearning their age-old traditions even faster. On the brighter side, this presents a great opportunity for young candidates. After all, it sets the field for self-learning and creates an awareness of market needs.
The bottom line
The whole ‘unemployment versus lack of skill’ has underlined the paradox that employers struggle with; the unemployment rate remains high, while employers stand firm on the belief of a shortage in qualified and skilled labor. However, in this day and age, the best way for a company to have an edge over its competitors is a good pool of workers who are rightly skilled to take the company towards its goals. Besides, the skills also help the employee to stay competitive, relevant, and irreplaceable for longer, apart from bringing professional experience and growth.
Thankfully, candidates can leverage online platforms working towards addressing this need-gap by equipping candidates with the required skill sets. Such platforms analyze large volumes of recruiter data to identify emerging job requirements and market trends, thus enabling candidates to stay ahead of the game. Moreover, they provide specially curated courses from top-level educators to help candidates gain expertise in a set of preferred skills, allowing them to re-skill themselves at a pace of their own. Such programs are a boon for the Indian employment landscape and may prove a milestone in bringing out the workforce from the shadows of unemployability in the ‘New Normal.'