Addressing the skills gap in the workforce

Addressing the skills gap in the workforce
Upskilling and reskilling initiatives adopted by businesses are essential to thrive in an ever-changing business environment. The amalgamation of efforts from employers, employees, sector forums and government will go a long way in building a learning culture.

Jillian Michaels, a well – known author and American businesswoman once said, ‘Transformation is not a future event but a present day activity’. The phrase perfectly depicts how artificial intelligence is sweeping across the world and pervading our day to day lives gradually. It is well-known that digital transformation is disrupting the conventional models of various industries.  The wave of change has enabled many to rethink their strategies to ensure they upgrade themselves in order to stay relevant. To deal with these rapid advancements in technology, it is imperative to equip oneself with the necessary tools to help adapt to the changes quickly.

India’s unemployment rate has risen to a three-month high of 7.8% in March 2023, according to the latest report released by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). One of the key factors contributing to India’s high unemployment rate is the skills gap. Many employers are finding it difficult to hire new employees as they are unable to find candidates with the right qualifications, skills and experience. This has especially been witnessed in sectors like healthcare and IT. According to a report released by Nasscom, the Indian IT sector would need a workforce of 4.5 million professionals by 2025. The report also highlights a 60% demand supply gap due to the lack of digital skills expertise. This emphasises the need for further investment in the sectors for education and training. On the other hand, 40% of the existing Indian employee base will need reskilling and 60% will need upskilling to keep up to date with the changing dynamics of the industry in the wake of new age innovation being introduced daily across industries. The pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures has further widened the skill gap.

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Why do we have the skill gap today?

The healthcare industry has traditionally been slow in technology adoption when compared to other industries. However, companies are now placing a higher emphasis on digital innovation and enterprise-wide transformation initiatives to improve their operational efficiencies. For the same, there is a requirement for a qualified talent pool with in-depth domain expertise. The shortage of in-house qualified talent has been hindering the smooth operations. Introduction of skilling initiatives help in overcoming this challenge by providing the talent pool with the requisite technical expertise along with the ability to rapidly upscale based on business requirements in a cost effective and efficient manner. While upskilling improvises existing skills, reskilling provides an opportunity to hone a new skill. Both are essential to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Understanding the need of the organisation

The first step is to undertake a skill gap analysis. The focus should be on undertaking the right kind of programs. It is important to link the talent to the expected program value. It cannot have a one size fits all approach. Adopting a customised skilling strategy for teams based on their strengths and areas of improvisation is the key to creating organisational transformation and building future readiness. For the same, the leaders will have to study the company’s performance to identify and understand the areas where organisational performance has been obstructed by lack of skills to carry out the expected responsibilities. On the basis of the study, the company can then propose and execute the necessary skilling actions in order to achieve the desired results. Employees who are engaged in the workplace and committed to the organisation are crucial as it results in high productivity rate and low attrition.

Democratising Learning

Skilling initiatives can be conducted in various ways, through traditional classroom training, virtual workshops or practical simulations. It is important to have a deep understanding of which learning style works best for each employee so you can provide them with the training they need in a way that they will really benefit from it. The training can be conducted by an in-house trainer or can be done in collaboration with educational institutes that provide certification on completion of the course. Collaborating with educational institutes can be a beneficial strategy to train existing employees as well as implement apprenticeship programmes that provide new hires with the necessary on-the-job training, thus contributing to the overall growth of a skilled talent pool. This can help foster a culture of continuous learning, innovation and professional development. Moreover, collaborating with educational institutions can lead to the identification and recruitment of skilled workers, which can result in a consistent supply of talent. This strategy can also help businesses align their training programs with industry standards and requirements, ensuring that their workforce is up-to-date with the latest trends and practices.

Upskilling and reskilling initiatives adopted by businesses are essential to thrive in an ever-changing business environment. The amalgamation of efforts from employers, employees, sector forums and government will go a long way in building a learning culture among a motivated future ready skilled workforce, impacting the overall economic development of the country.

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Abhay Srivastava

Chief Human Resources Officer at IKS Health Limited

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Abhay Srivastava

Chief Human Resources Officer at IKS Health Limited

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