Reskilling Corporate India: Mission 2025  

 by Balendu Sharma Dadhich, Director- Localization, Microsoft 

>>Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and blockchain have completely transformed the IT landscape

artificial-intelligence1The wave of technologies and the digitisation has transformed sectors, and the skillset needed for the future workforce is being disrupted. The World Economic Forum estimates 35 per cent of core skills to change between 2015 and 2020, causing 210 million people around the world to seek different forms of occupation by 2030. In India, this number is even higher—42 per cent.[1]

Take the IT/ITES sector for instance. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and blockchain have completely transformed the IT landscape. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) projections reveal that in order to be future-ready, about 40 per cent of the IT/ITES and BPO workforce in India will need to reskill themselves over five years.[2] With nearly four million being a part of this industry, this translates to 1.6 million who would need to invest in a new skill set.

The requirement of new skills will extend to all sectors, since both highly organised and traditional sectors, are adopting the use of technology to drive efficiency. The workforce will have to be skilled for a range of new jobs—from automobile analytics engineers and machine learning based vehicle cybersecurity experts in the automotive sector, to cyber security specialists, credit analysts, robot programmers, and blockchain architects in BSFI. Traditional sectors such as textiles will have openings for apparel data analysts, IT process engineers, and environment and e-textiles specialists. The retail sector will have new job openings as well.  Customer experience leaders, digital imaging leaders, IT process modellers, digital marketing specialists, and retail data analysts will be an essential part of retail. Reskilling then becomes the answer to enable this future ready workforce.

Reskilling: Challenges and opportunities unique to India

India is one of the youngest nations in the world. Sixty-two per cent of our nation’s population falls in the working age group of 15-59 years. Furthermore, nearly 54 per cent of the total population falls below 25 years of age. This means 250 million young people will be joining the workforce over the next decade[3]— making reskilling even more vital in the Indian landscape.

The India specific findings of the Vodafone commissioned YouGov The State of iGen survey[4]—which researched into the career aspirations and concerns of 6,000 18-24-year-olds in 15 countries—found that almost one in five young people surveyed said they lack the skills to do any job at all. Urgent to note was that the survey found more than half of India’s youth, 51 per cent, declaring that the hardest challenge for their generation was finding a well-paid, permanent job.

India’s youth is also quick to understand that the future of work will lie in the digital economy. The majority, 34 per cent, believe that digital transformation will increase their job opportunities in the future. Young people’s aspirations to future career options include 26 per cent wishing to be a YouTube/video blogger, or cyber security specialist, while 18 percent wish to become a robotics engineer or Internet of Things product designer. Young women equally favour modern jobs with 52 per cent saying that they would prefer a contemporary job over a traditional job. However, only 23 per cent feel that they have the right skills such as coding, robotics, social media management, virtual reality programming, and cyber security, which will enable them to work in such job roles.

Enabling the shift to modern jobs

Reskilling is the collective responsibility of the government, the industry, and the academia. While the government’s support is required for policy reform, reskilling initiatives, and embracing of technology and start-ups, the industry will have to extend its support with its own reskilling agenda. It will further have to formulate a strong vision for Industry 4.0, incorporate the online economy, and work closely with government. The academia’s role will have to focus on judgement driven skills and including of tailored courses to enhance the learning ecosystem.

The Indian Government’s Digital India initiative has set the foundation for reskilling in India. NASSCOM’s FutureSkills platform will in the next few years, reskill two million technology professions and two million potential employees and students. NASSCOM will also work with the Central ministry to enable skill development and continuous learning to employees belonging to other sectors.[5]

For reskilling efforts to result in success, accurate career guidance and access to training content in the digital economy is necessary. The State of iGen survey reported 43 per cent of Indian youth receiving career advice focussed purely on traditional jobs. A further 33 per cent felt that the career advice they received did not take their skills into account.

Reskilling will also have to address the concerns of the 17 per cent of Indian youth who feel underprepared for the digital economy, since their skills are more traditional than being digitally focused. The nature of reskilling initiatives will have to put to rest the fears of the 11 per cent who are worried that will have no role in the digital economy, and the 12 per cent who believe that their current professions will not exist in the future.

Platforms such as the Vodafone Future Jobs Finder[6] facilitates the reskilling process by helping identify skills, matching skills to digital jobs, and providing training through online learning modules. Five million youth in India and 10 million young people across 18 countries will be benefitted by the platform, by 2022.

Achieving Mission 2025

The Future of Jobs in India report[7] estimates that India has a time window of two to three years, to bring about large-scale reskilling reforms. The accurate identification of future job roles, scaling learning platforms using digital technology, and initiating public private partnerships that facilitate the broader adoption of skills training will help India achieve its goal

[1] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/tools-reskill-future-will-labour-disruption-automation/

[2] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/jobs/up-to-40-per-cent-it-staff-need-re-skilling-nasscom/articleshow/58746011.cms

[3] https://www.financialexpress.com/india-news/62-working-age-group-population-a-challenge-opportunity-says-vice-president-venkaiah-naidu/906747/

[4] https://yougov.co.uk/find-solutions/omnibus/international/vodafone-study-igen/

[5] https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/reskilling-india-nasscom-joins-hands-with-it-ministry-to-reskill-the-countrys-tech-workforce/1074854/

[6] https://futurejobsfinder.vodafone.com/

[7] http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-future-of-jobs-in-india/$FILE/ey-future-of-jobs-in-india.pdf

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