Can reskilling help women restarters find better jobs?
In the last three decades, the incredible proliferation of mobile and digital technologies have changed the way humans behave and interact with each other. The increasing use of internet-enabled devices has had a huge impact on how businesses are run as well. Today, nearly every major company leverages technology in one way or the other.
The world is on the cusp of what is being billed as The Fourth Industrial Revolution with the introduction of automation and AI in the marketplace. According to the World Bank, this development is expected to threaten a substantial proportion of jobs in economies like India and China.
As the shelf-life of technical skills gets shorter, learning agility, adaptability and creative thinking are becoming key differentiators in the marketplace. Increasingly, how fast professionals acquire and apply new technology knowledge is becoming more important than what they know.
According to a WEF Report, “As the types of skills needed in the labour market change rapidly, individual workers will have to engage in lifelong learning if they are to achieve fulfilling and rewarding careers. For companies, reskilling and upskilling strategies will be critical if they are to find the talent they need.”
EY’s report on the Future Of Jobs in India by 2022, states that new jobs will emerge and 37 percent would be deployed in jobs that have radically changed skill sets. Undoubtedly, new skills and expertise will be required for success in the emerging environment. A McKinsey report stated that firms must find new service lines and solutions, build new capabilities, drive digital transformation and reskill employees with emerging technologies.
For employers, solely relying on new workers entering the labour market with the right ready-made skills will no longer be sufficient.
It is right to say then that the reskilling market is burgeoning amongst women restarters. This growing job-seeking population is driving the demand for industry relevant training as there is a skills gap that needs to be bridged before getting back into the workforce. The need to reskill these women and make them part of the workforce provides a huge opportunity.
The need to reskill women restarters
According to a World Bank study, nearly 20 million Indian women quit jobs between 2004-12. Around 65-70 percent of women who quit never return to work at all. In the last 3 years, we have witnessed that the obstacles to restart are many amongst women restarters and outdated skills being one of the biggest deterrents (24 percent). According to a survey JobsForHer conducted on, What can companies do to enable your career restart? Thirty-four of the women mentioned reskilling as a necessity for their career restart, progression, and job role changes. Hence, there is a growing need for on-demand reskilling amongst this group of job seekers.
JobsForHer conducted a series of online reskilling surveys and when asked How does reskilling impact your career re-entry? Thirty-six percent of the women responded that it gave their careers a jumpstart, 26 percent of them mentioned that reskilling gave them the necessary confidence to attend interviews, 22 percent of the women said it compensated their break and 16 percent said it increased their market value:
Online reskilling opportunities
Women on a career break today cannot afford to spend years going back to school, and brick-and-mortar institutions in the country largely lack the capacity or the skill to provide the kind of training required to make these professionals job-ready in these emerging technologies.
However, online courses with virtual classrooms are becoming increasingly popular. Many of these courses are targeted at working professionals and women on a break, and thus are flexible by design. This can allow women to learn at their own pace, giving them targeted, and industry-relevant training in a way that is mobile and convenient. Courses in Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Data Science and Analytics, Data Visualisation, and Big Data are great sources of reskilling and are available on multiple digital platforms.
In the survey on What do you think is the best way to reskill yourself? Thirty percent of women responded that they preferred taking online courses, 29 percent mentioned volunteering, 28 percent favoured returnee internships and 13 percent preferred attending offline workshops.
The opportunities are not limited to technology alone; the influx of these autonomous and AI-led systems are likely to create a market in which human skills like creativity, imagination, negotiation, and communication will become a resource people leverage to gain employment in the future. Courses in soft skills like negotiation and communication, or even courses in management, digital marketing, and human resource management through online platforms can help women restart their careers.
In the survey, What kind of reskilling are you looking at? Thirty-six percent of the women responded that they were looking at Technical skills e.g data analytics, 31 percent were looking at soft skills, 27 percent were looking at confidence building courses and 11 percent were looking at expert services like resume writing.
According to Cyrus Mistry, ex-chairman, Tata Group, “When women are insufficiently represented in the workplace, we lose out on 50 percent of the talent pool. In an environment where human capital makes all the difference between success and failure, this is a massive loss which countries and corporates can ill-afford."(1) With India poised to become a $10 trillion economy by 2030, it cannot afford to leave half of its workforce behind.
“More deliberate efforts are needed to ensure that the entire talent pool of women is educated, recruited, and promoted, over time creating novel competitive advantages and a virtuous cycle around a company’s ability to address skills shortages by targeting female talent”, emphasises a WEF report in The Future of Jobs.
- “India Needs More Women in the Workforce” – Persis Khambatta, Center for Strategic and International Studies, August 2013
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)