Perception and reality of upskilling

Uma Ganesh | September 12, 2022 |

The need for training and retraining of the workforce would remain the essential ingredient to success.

The case for upskilling has never been as strong as the present situation. The demand for talent particularly with IT and domain skills from Indian outsourcing companies has created a spiral effect of not only massive attrition and unsustainable costs for attracting and retaining talent in many cases but has also led to a scramble for talent in other sectors. The focus on talent pool from India is only going to increase in the coming years as substantiated by McKinsey & Co CEO Bob Sternfels who has said India will become a hub of future talent as it will have world’s 20% of the working population by 2047 and hence it is India’s century to capitalise on the opportunity.

In this context, in the foreseeable future, there would be two factors that would continue to pose top challenges for businesses with respect to the talent pool. The first concerns the quality of talent coming out of academic institutions which do not meet the requirements of the industry and the second concerns the ongoing changes in the technology domain and the need to cope with the resultant competitive forces and customer expectations. Hence the need for training and retraining of the workforce would remain the essential ingredient to success. With an estimated 6 million technology graduates and 18 million non tech graduates each year combined with 20 million working professionals, the market for upskilling is huge and presents an attractive proposition for a variety of tech led interventions using AI, ML and Metaverse applications.

Training providers have picked different approaches to address the needs for upskilling. Thanks to the pandemic, the number of ed tech providers has increased significantly and at the same time, the need for differentiation has resulted in tech led innovation and attention to scaling without compromising on quality. The cost of acquisition of learners is galloping amidst the changing expectations of learners as well.

However, with a significant variety and formats of free content available on the internet for every topic under the sun, training providers need to do good thinking on the right approach to content.

Despite all the glitz around ed tech offerings, the perception still remains that tech led training is not serious and is not recognised. The reality is also the fact that as per World Economic Forum Report, two-thirds of business leaders still do not consider it a high priority for capability building of the future workforce. Hence collectively there is a lot of work remaining to be done to address both the perceptions and the reality before upskilling becomes mainstream in businesses.

Originally appeared in Financial Express