Over the last decade, we have witnessed rapid technological advancements and the introduction of modern technologies. The advent of the global pandemic accelerated the adoption and penetration of industry 4.0 and 4.1 technologies across industries and sectors. The impetus on digitization has not just altered the way operations are conducted in companies but also the people that conduct these operations. While in older times, a simple degree in a field of choice was enough to land one a comfortable job, it is no longer the case. Today, organizations require much more than just a degree from an ideal candidate. In a high-tech world, digital skills have emerged as a must for people aspiring to work in any field or profession. This is because no matter which domain you pick today, technology plays an integral role. Thus, to work efficiently in today’s digital world, digital skills have become quite a mandate.
Widening Skill Gap is a Challenge
As per a global survey conducted by McKinsey, almost nine out of 10 respondents working on an executive or management level admitted that skill gaps either already exist at their workplace or are expected to arise within the next five years. This widening skill gap was also highlighted by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM)’s survey report. It underscored that over 50% of Indian professionals will need to upskill themselves to stay at par with the evolving industry dynamics and retain their jobs. A recent report by LinkedIn further claims that the competencies required for a given job have changed by about 25% from 2015 to 2021. It is anticipated that the total change that surfaces by 2025 will be around 40%.
Going by such facts and figures, it is evident that the skill gap that exists in industries, is only growing and this needs to be attended to, for the industries to function without any interruption. The employees need not only scale their qualifications but also do so efficiently and consistently to become valuable resources in this changing work landscape.
Employers and Employees alike face the brunt
In the absence of new and relevant skills, an employee or applicant is bound to face challenges while applying for or retaining a job. However, the problems created by the skill gap are not restricted to just employees.
Organizations, too, are facing their share of challenges that originate from the widening skill gap. In this regard, employee retention has surfaced as one of the most important areas of concern today. As employees are becoming increasingly competent and well-informed, organizations are competing to recruit the best talent. Owing to this, highly skilled job candidates are typically fielding a slew of attractive offers.
On the not-so brighter side, some credible media stories also highlight those entry-level salaries in tech domain somehow still remain more or less stagnant for freshers compared to the previous decade. It is here that rising start-ups in India and Global Capability Centers (GCCs) are taking an upper edge. They are offering hefty packages to the same limited talent pool to win the best talent and resources.
This IT or technology talent war is not just limited to India, but it is something that exists at the global level. It is much more than a mere HR challenge. The growing war for talent between IT firms, GCCs, start-ups, and tech companies has put a spotlight on the limited availability of resourceful and skilled talent. The need of the hour is to address this challenge by encouraging skilling, upskilling, and reskilling amongst professionals. Employers need to rethink employee engagement strategies by making re-skilling/upskilling an important part of what they are offering.
Upskilling and reskilling are the need of the hour
A recent report by World Economic Forum points out that by 2025, automation will replace 85 million jobs worldwide, and 97 million new roles will emerge. A majority of these new roles are expected to be heavily tech-based, with a special focus on the domains of digital, data analytics, and process automation. Given this scenario, our applicant or talent pool is far from ready to face this overwhelming shift. The digital skill gap that exists today is significant and thus, for people to secure a relevant job in the future, upskilling and reskilling are imperative.
Fortunately, both upskilling and reskilling can be done easily on an individual level. Employees can enroll themselves into in-person courses, rejoin school or even avail themselves of a range of online courses on skill development. It is ironic how the same technology that has given rise to the acute need for upskilling and reskilling has also worked out to effectively solve this need. In the present time, a wide range of comprehensive courses is available online that employees can pursue to acquire new skills and learn at their own pace and convenience. These courses are typically affordably priced and offer good returns.
It is no news that AI, automation, and machine learning are booming in the present-day context. These technologies are becoming a part and parcel of our daily lives. From the advertisements we engage with, how we shop, and even how we access our education, we can see it penetrating almost everywhere around us, and going forward, this is only expected to grow with time.
The days where IT knowledge was restricted to IT professionals are gone. It’s time for professionals to brace themselves for what lies ahead in the future. Acquiring digital skills is truly a necessity for today’s workforce.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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