The Future is all about Upskilling
By Aditi Bhat
There are innumerable professional opportunities lined up in the present and the future. But there is a problem - lack of talent to fill these positions. What is the reason for it? It’s simple. The graduates in our country aren’t being equipped with the right technical or non-technical skills, which can serve them well in the long run.
Let’s take the recently launched “Skill India” movement, for example. It envisions creations of over 40 crore skilled workers in India by 2022. Also, the purpose of this initiative is to improve employability of workers who will be soon entering the employment market. With 54% of India’s population being under the age of 25 and 60% of the population coming under the working group, it is safe to say that there are enough resources to meet the supply demands of the professional sector - they just need the right skills and direction.
The need for upskilling is real
Although the literacy rate in India is rising, it does not directly mean that fresh graduates entering the job market are employable. As per multiple research and surveys, it has been found out that over half of engineering and commerce graduates lack soft skills expected by employers.
With the introduction artificial intelligence, data science etc. technology has changed the way we do our jobs and is deemed to make many jobs redundant in the coming years. For example, mass lay-offs are predicted in the IT industry despite shortage of data analysts, machine learning and artificial intelligence experts, UX UI designers, cybersecurity and products developers.
Also, many Indian IT industries have realized the need for upskilling and are beginning to invest in skill training of their existing employees via IT certification training courses and bootcamp training courses as it is cost-effective compared to hiring fresh talent.
What is upskilling and how is it different from reskilling?
Upskilling is the process of learning new skills or teaching workers/employees new skills. Upskilling is not the same as reskilling. While reskilling is learning a new skill to carry out a new job, upskilling is learning new skills to carry out the same job, usually using upgraded and advanced methods.
Need for upskilling
According to a Talent Shortage survey in 2017 conducted by the Manpower Group, 40% of employers reported that they did not have qualified and skilled manpower to fill vacant positions through internal hiring. With growth in digital technologies and lack of skilled manpower, Indian businesses are not completely able to exploit opportunities offered by these new digital technologies. As we move towards a ‘Digital India’, the industry requires more than half of its manpower to be armed with relevant skills.
Indian employers do not wish to replace real workers with machines and need skilled professionals who can contribute as well as add real value to the organisation. But this doesn’t mean jobs are secure, unless professionals are updated with the skill set required to carry out their roles and responsibilities. Every organisation wants its employees to be an element of value addition.
For example, in the IT industry, employees can offer additional value when they acquire technical skills in big data analytics, product management, cloud computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning etc. Cross-training does not only complement the current skill set, but also makes an employee more employable and a valuable asset within an organisation.
Importance of upskilling
In this present day where it takes no time for a technology to become obsolete and quickly be replaced by a new one, it is important for professionals and businesses to remain relevant by acquiring the required skills/technology. Some of the benefits of upskilling are:
⦁ Increases an employee’s employability and makes them a valuable asset to an organisation.
⦁ Ensures employees are still employable even if their current jobs become redundant in the future.
⦁ Increases employee retention and engagement, with studies showing that over 3/4th employees remain loyal to their organisation and do not look for a job change when they receive continuous job related skill development training as the employees get a sense of belonging and job security.
⦁ Increases productivity and efficiency of the workforce as job related training helps in filling any gaps in knowledge and instils confidence in employees to perform better with minimal errors.
⦁ Employees with diversified skills can help several departments in an organisation, making such employees highly indispensable.
Nothing is constant, but change and an era of automation is inevitable. As robotics and artificial intelligence are deemed to be employed to improve systems and processes, they will only result in emergence of newer jobs requiring newer skill sets. So upskilling is the answer to be future-ready.
Also, do remember that the opportunities will always be there. By 2020, there are expected to be 1.1 million cloud computing jobs, 2 lakh analytics jobs, 18 lakh digital marketing jobs available in the country. If you’re interested in grabbing the opportunity in your field of interest, now is the time to upskill and invest in yourself!