The volatility of India’s labor market remained high for yet another month. According to information from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), more than 1.5 million people lost their jobs in August. This brought the national unemployment rate up to 8.32 percent—erasing signs of positive job growth from July.
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been kind to the Indian employment market. The country is also experiencing the effects of a large-scale skills gap—particularly in the area of technology—that needs to be addressed. A recent study conducted by the National Council for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship concluded that 53 percent of Indian businesses experienced recruiting difficulties due to skill shortages. As the world of technology continues to automate and accelerate, candidates with in-demand abilities are becoming harder and harder to find.
So how can Indian companies keep pace with growing business demands—even with such a dearth of qualified talent? The answer lies in a comprehensive workforce reskilling effort led by public and private entities. Here are four strategies that can help India make meaningful progress in bridging its workforce skills gap.
Invest in private upskilling initiatives
The brunt of the funding that is necessary to fix India’s skills gap should not entirely fall on the federal government. Instead, private companies can promote internal programs to upskill or reskill current employees. Rather than encouraging workers to return to school and earn a traditional degree, organizations can establish in-house training initiatives that are strategically driven by employer needs. From coding boot camps to digital skills training sessions, companies can center their efforts on the abilities that are becoming increasingly required in their employees’ roles.
Promote ongoing learning opportunities at universities
The concept of “open loop” programs has become increasingly prevalent in countries like the United States in recent years. In this idea, alumni from colleges and universities can return to their alma maters for refresher classes after earning their degrees. For a nation that is trying to bridge the skills gap, promoting ongoing learning opportunities at high-level academic institutions seems like a sensible place to start.
Establish apprenticeship programs
Private work-based learning opportunities offer an ideal way for students and young professionals to receive hands-on experience in a workplace setting. In evolving industries like technology, apprenticeships are crucial for individuals to increase their knowledge and expertise in a particular area. This is also a valuable recruitment tactic for companies that are looking to train future generations of their workforce. Think of apprenticeships as a “try before you buy” model: if an organization likes the work being performed by their apprentice, they can bring them on full-time after the individual graduates from college and is ready to begin their professional career.
Encourage students to consider vocational education
To create a more highly skilled and technically sound workforce, India’s culture must change the perception around vocational schools. A disappointing majority of citizens in India view this educational option as one that caters to “less smart” students. However, the opportunities that can arise upon graduating from a vocational institution are endless. By showcasing the benefits of vocational schools and persuading greater populations of students to consider this option, India can significantly expand the sizes of its training and technology institutes—creating an abundance of skilled workers that are ready for the professional world.
Is your organization looking to recruit greater numbers of working women? Learn how Indian companies can enhance their talent acquisition efforts to entice more females to return to the workforce.
To read more from our talent experts at Acara Solutions India, check out our blog.