The swiftly evolving job landscape and shifting skill demands globally are causing a skills deficit that obstructs access to employment opportunities.
- GS2- Human Resource
- GS3- Growth and Development
Skill gap in India can hinder future employability. Analyse the reasons for the persistent skill gap among Indian youth. How have government efforts performed in this regard? (15 marks, 250 words).
- In the Asia-Pacific region, around 86 million workers are in need of acquiring advanced digital skills through either upskilling or reskilling to match the rapid technological advancements.
- India is ranked 132 out of 191 countries in the UNDP’s Human Development Index, which is a major concern. This is particularly worrisome as companies are facing a shortage of qualified workers, even though millions of educated individuals are still unemployed.
- The International Labour Organization predicts a shortfall of approximately 29 million skilled personnel in India by 2030.
- Having a skilled workforce is crucial for achieving higher economic growth, but only 45% of trained individuals in India are employable, and merely 4.69% of the workforce has received vocational training.
Causes of the skill-gap:
- The rapidly evolving job landscape and changing skill requirements worldwide are giving rise to a skills gap that obstructs employment opportunities.
- Moreover, there is a substantial disparity between the number of individuals who receive training and certification and those who are successfully placed in jobs.
- Workers across diverse industries are under pressure to enhance their skills, but many struggle to find time for learning due to long working hours.
- The absence of support systems prioritizing employee well-being can deter motivation for upskilling and reskilling.
- The shortage of training infrastructure and limited involvement from the private sector are significant contributing factors. Additionally, the absence of a governing body overseeing these training institutes compounds the problem.
- Deficiencies in skills are directly connected to the type of education provided, starting from the school level, and the overall ecosystem aimed at equipping job seekers with skills that are in demand in the job market.
- Today, education extends beyond traditional school and college curricula, encompassing a broader range of knowledge due to evolving markets and technological advancements. To secure a career in the competitive and ever-changing job market, it is imperative for young people to engage in upskilling and stay relevant to their respective industries.
- Currently, India lacks an effective vocational education and training system that is both inspiring and accessible to all young individuals.
Impact of this skill-gap:
- India’s demographic advantage could turn into a challenge if the young population isn’t adequately trained in upskilling, reskilling, and acquiring skills. By 2025, an estimated 70% of India’s population will fall within the working-age category, and if suitable employment opportunities are not made available, unemployment will continue to pose a significant problem.
- According to a report from The World Economic Forum, there will be a creation of 150 million new technology-related jobs worldwide in the next five years, with 77% of all jobs requiring digital skills by 2030. Presently, only 33% of technology jobs globally are being filled by qualified individuals, which could impede global technological progress.
National and International Efforts to deal with skill-gap:
- India has been actively striving to shift towards an economy centered on skills over the past ten years. Initiatives like the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the National Skill Development Corporation have been established with the primary goal of emphasizing skill development.
- The inception of the Skill India Mission in July 2015 was a significant step in addressing the shortage of skilled labor in the country.
- The National Education Policy of 2020 should make genuine efforts to integrate skill development starting from the school level.
- To enhance the market value of short-term skill development programs lasting from 3 to 12 months, the World Bank has given its approval for the $250 million Skill India Mission Operation (SIMO).
- There is an imperative to establish a robust National Vocational Education and Training System that offers every student the opportunity to pursue vocational education and training after completing ten years of schooling. Many developed nations have well-defined national vocational education and training systems that facilitate the readiness of young people for employment and encourage entrepreneurship rooted in practical skills.
- Educational institutions must equip students with knowledge and skills that are directly applicable to the job market, enabling them to become productive and employable.
- All skill courses at the school level should align with employment opportunities, fostering a seamless integration between skill providers and industries, which is of paramount importance.
- In today’s competitive and constantly evolving job market, it is essential for young individuals to continually upskill and stay relevant to their respective industries. Acquiring skills that are in demand in the market will open doors to promising career opportunities for them.
- Currently, India lacks an effective vocational education and training system that is both aspirational and accessible to all young people. To address this issue and work toward the national objective of making India the global hub for skills, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship should establish a National Skills University (NSU), as proposed in the National Skills Universities Bill of 2015. The NSU would offer curricula closely aligned with industry requirements and award skill-based certificates, diplomas, and degrees to enhance employability.
- In addition to the NSU, state governments can establish Multi-skills Development Centres (MSDC) in collaboration with the private sector. These centers can identify skill gaps in major industrial clusters and establish cluster-specific Skill Development Centres to upgrade the skills of existing workers.
- Furthermore, Advanced Skill Development Centres can be set up to provide cutting-edge knowledge and courses that cater to the high-level skill demands of various industries.
To stay in step with the rapidly evolving technological landscape, it is imperative to conduct global assessments of skill gaps and transition from a recruitment approach based on degrees to one rooted in skills. Therefore, it is critical to bridge the skills gap by offering training in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, robotics, IoT, 3D printing, drones, and data analytics. A proficient workforce capable of comprehending, implementing, and driving innovation is indispensable for the success of these technologies and the industries relying on them. By prioritizing vocational education and contemporary skills training, India can cultivate a workforce well-equipped to meet the demands of the future.