India: potentially the global talent power houseAP Ramabhadran
India and its burgeoning talent pipeline is an area of global attention for quite some time now. The forever-changing domestic and international labour markets requirements are currently being met by India due to its large number of higher education graduates and favourable demographics (the growth rate of the population in the working age of 15-64 years is higher than the total population).
As per various industry reports, the noteworthy demographic dividend of India is expected to not only boost the growth of the country but also empower it to become a global talent powerhouse. By 2020, due to ageing world economies, a shortage of substantial skilled manpower of around 56.5 million is expected across the globe, while India alone is expected to have a surplus of 47 million
The potential of Indian human capital is never questioned, but what is questioned is the employability quotient of the available fresh talent in India. In fact, as per a survey conducted by the NxtGen leadership group (a group of industry experts) on the quality of fresh graduates joining the industry, only a meagre 10% were capable of clearing the basic recruitment test conducted by a top-tier IT company.
To become a global power house for fresh talent supply and make the most of the demographic dividend in India, there is an urgent requirement to create a competitive and globally relevant higher education system that equips graduates with the required employability skills.
Key reasons behind the low employability quotient in India
Curriculum and Practice-based Projects
India has the third largest education system in the world, but surprisingly, less than 15 Indian institutes are listed in the top 1000 colleges/universities of the world. One of the key reasons behind this is the “not-so-evolved” and outdated curriculum and a lack of encouragement towards both basic and applied research even at Undergrad levels (Some of the best Universities across the world encourage free thinking Undergrad research projects). Consequently, most students stepping out of the colleges are unable to clear professional assessments and lack a “curiosity culture”.
Another major problem that haunts the Indian higher education system is the lack of practice-based projects. Most colleges do not engage their students in practice-based projects and even if they do, students often outsource these projects to shops/freelancers leaving them unprepared to handle real industry situations.
Cutting-edge curriculum incorporating latest tools and techniques enabling a fundamental disruptive thinking philosophy in the innovative Indian youth can make India the “Innovation center” of the world.
As organisations surf the digital wave, the market has opened up for people with digital skills. In fact, digital skills have become a pre-requisite for joining the job market. The world is moving towards a gig economy and India seconds the USA with 15 mn freelancers, who earn their livelihood by leveraging the digital opportunities. Here’s a quick look at the gap and the opportunities in the world of digital -
As per the NxtGen survey, around 75K jobs could emerge globally by 2020 if the right digital skills are available. The opportunity to equip our fresh graduates with the right digital skills is a significant step towards making India a powerhouse of talent globally.
IR 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence
As emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Cloud Computing, AR, VR, IoT etc come to the fore it becomes essential to impart a basic understanding of the impact of these trends not just to students from the STEM background but also to those coming from the liberal arts and commerce backgrounds.
The job markets are forever changing. Technology impacts jobs – either causing them to evolve or disappear altogether. Is our education system keeping abreast of the growing and de-growing roles? Are we preparing fresh talent for this disruption? Here is a brief look at some of the emerging new roles and roles which may soon be redundant with the advent of Artificial intelligence and automation.
Improving the employability quotient for a robust and skilled fresher supply chain
Usage of tech-based learning stacks to leverage quality faculty - The usage of technology-based learning stacks can help in imparting professional training to students. Digital learning is a great enabler today as it is location agnostic and helps in imparting standardized education to upskill fresh graduates and professionals. Manipal University has opened up a digital platform for all its students wherein the “best-in-quality” programs and world-class faculties from top global universities are just a click away. Manipal ProLearn has created learning paths to ensure that skills for new generation roles are imparted across multiple areas ranging from Digital Marketing, to Design thinking to deep technology suites ( Full Stack Developer/ Data Scientist/ Cloud computing roles and so on)
Creating learner responsibility and improving learnability quotient - Besides incorporating the new age learning needs in the curriculum, institutions must imbibe a culture of ‘self-learning’ and ‘honour code’ among students. This improves the learner responsibility.
Employers, on the other hand, should leverage digital platforms to train the fresh graduates and track their progress and learnability quotient. Given the rapid changes in the application of technology, employers today demand to know if the learner has the ability to adapt and learn, or are they hiring an employee who will be redundant in the next two to three years because he/she has not been able to keep pace with changes in technology and applications.
The measurement of the learning quotient is still evolving and service providers like Manipal ProLearn have started bringing in their expertise in both academic and professional learning to start creating these new measures.
Keeping abreast of new technology applications – Today, domains like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, AR, and VR have become horizontals and impact industries starting from banking, insurance, retail, healthcare, law and many more. It is imperative to upskill fresh graduates irrespective of their academic background on these domains. This is possible only when there is an active synergy between the industry and academia.
Need for industry and academia collaboration – Besides academic training, graduating students should also be imparted professional training to make them “job-ready” from the first day. Globally, there have been various such collaborations which have helped in upskilling the emerging workforce. In India, such collaborations are rare and are mostly facilitated by premier institutes.
Understanding the criticality of the situation, Manipal ProLearn is making a difference in this area. As a leading provider of education in these emerging technologies, Manipal ProLearn acts as a training and recruitment partners for the top IT companies. Through our IT Finishing School (ITFS), we source, train and deploy students. We ensure they are up-to-date with the latest technologies, job-ready and productive from the first day. These are the kinds of industry-academia collaborations that help in improving the fresher supply chain and benefits the industry.
With more than 34 mn students enrolling in Indian higher education institutions, India has the strength in numbers to become the global talent powerhouse of the world. However, there are massive improvements required in areas such as professional upskilling and industry-academia collaborations to make it possible. In certain parts of the world such as Europe and Singapore, active initiatives have already been taken by the administration to address the skill gap. It’ time for India to buck up and start putting in aggressive efforts for strengthening the fresher supply chain and taking one step closer to becoming the global talent powerhouse for the world.