Why Does India Still Face Skill Shortage?
Close to 400 million personnel would need to reskill in order to cope up with digitization, automation, and advances in AI
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In a highly competitive and disruptive scenario, typically, there are numerous challenges that business –large corporations or start-ups - are facing. Be it due to local issues that impact talent management or global issues that impact demand and supply, challenges do persist and it is imperative to overcome them to achieve the business objectives. Out of all these, the one challenge that would have a huge impact if not taken care of right away is that of skill shortage. If ignored and not addressed in a strategic manner, the repercussions of skill shortage would be such that coping with it would be as demanding as it was witnessed in the west when there was a tremendous shift from agriculture to manufacturing in the early decades of the 20th century.
The Answer to Skill Shortage
As most leaders agree, the apt solution to skill shortage is Reskilling. Reskilling today is on the radar of every C-Suite executive and has found its way prominently in every strategy discussion. There is a reinforced belief in leaders globally that investment in reskilling is a crucial business priority and enterprises must allocate a considerable budget to it.
According to a recent report by a leading consulting firm, close to 400 million personnel - or roughly around 14 percent of the global workforce—would need to reskill in order to cope up with digitization, automation, and advances in Artificial Intelligence that are set to disrupt the global work landscape. The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Reskilling as “the process of learning new skills so you can do a different job, or of training people to do a different job” or simply put - the process of ensuring one continues to learn new things to prevent becoming obsolete.
As good as it may sound, reskilling does have its pros and some challenges associated with it which can easily be overcome. The benefits would obviously mean that the workforce has the chance to acquire the latest skill sets, knowledge and techniques which definitely is an asset to the business. This is definitely an advantage business globally – in various sectors - would want to leverage. This, in turn, brings in myriad opportunities that further results in wealth creation – knowledge, resources and money. On the other hand, there are challenges which can be overcome, provided are identified.
Factors That Could Benefit Reskilling and Sort Out the Skill Shortage Challenge
Today, numerous businesses are spending huge amounts of time, money and resources in running classroom training programs for their specialists to upgrade their technology skills. The mere reason to introduce classroom training was the fact that online training programs were not getting the requisite response. The results of these in-class training programs are absolutely fantastic and clients want this newly trained workforce to be a part of their projects and the remuneration for the specialists has also improved. Skill shortage as a phenomenon is not the result of an activity or a transaction done overnight. It happens due to numerous factors – factors which may remain unidentified and unchecked – which ideally can be controlled.
The Need to Be Inherently Motivated and Re-Learn
Recent studies and inputs from various people managers have suggested that a large chunk of the workforce – especially in the Information Technology sphere - is not motivated enough to take up the next step in term of knowledge and expertise building. Employees need to realize the importance of their own reskilling and need to 'buy into' it rather than having it forced upon them. They need to be motivated inherently and understand the importance of “Unlearning and Re-learning”. Unfortunately, what motivates employees today is instant gratification and they are happy with that. The realization that building on their domain expertise or learning new skills would definitely benefit them needs to be dawn on them sooner rather than later.
Focus, Passion and Collaboration Is the Key
While a majority of our workforce undoubtedly is wonderfully resourceful, every professional need to understand the importance of learning new technologies, concepts and the likes in order to make a mark and face the stiff competition that the business sphere brings today. The new skill sets which the Technology industry needs right now are not very difficult to inculcate. In fact, most of them are easy to learn, provided people show a little determination and focus.
While there are too many distractions out there and one could easily get distracted, it is crucial to learn how to focus on a few things which are important in the long run. Therein comes the aspect of being passionate to work towards a set objective of learning. One needs to collaborate with like-minded folks – various stakeholders - to ensure the learning process continues. The thought needs to be consolidated that without dedicated and continuous learning, there wouldn’t be any enhancement in a professional’s career – especially in the Information Technology industry.
Mastering the Domain Expertise
Aristotle the great had once said "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Taking a cue from this quotation would definitely be a wise decision for any professional who wants to enter the league of being a “Subject-matter Expert with Deep Domain Expertise.” A professional does not become a Subject-matter Expert instantaneously. One needs to invest huge amounts of time in learning about a particular domain, that too with tremendous dedication. Apart from attending classroom training programs, tools like reading, watching self-help videos and the like needs to be done regularly to achieve the requisite level of expertise. These initiatives would help young graduates to make a wonderful career in the tech industry.
A classic example of this is the case of a leading FinTech company that established its award-winning Blockchain Centre of Excellence. Mere 10 specialists from varied technology backgrounds came together, studied blockchain as a concept, watched a lot of self-help video, read books, attended numerous classroom training programs, spent numerous hours practising the new codes and eventually came out with cutting-edge solutions on the Blockchain that have received acclamation from clients and industry alike.
In Conclusion, “Practice Makes Perfect”
Alvin Toffler, an American writer, futurist, and businessman had famously said: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” A superbly growing and ever-changing industry actually provides opportunities for those who want to prove themselves and actually challenge that hypothesis. Believing in oneself, understanding the importance of continuously and passionately unlearning and relearning and holistic collaboration would definitely pave the way to take care of challenges brought about by skill shortage. To sum it all up… “Practice Makes Perfect!”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.