Neeti Sharma, Senior Vice President, Teamlease Services

Neeti has over 27 years of diverse experience in the domain of Outsourcing including Employment & Employability, Customer Relationship, Operations, Technical Training, Profit Center Management and International Business Development. Current focus is to set up a self-sustaining Employability and Employment models with various network of centers that profile, assess, train and certify job seekers across all profiles and cities / towns linking various stakeholders like Government, Educational Institutes, NGOs and Training Centers to cater to the manpower requirements (entry and middle level) of the organized and unorganized corporate sectors. Neeti has previously been associated with organizations such as Aptech Limited, Mittal Group of Companies & Goodearth Organics. She holds a Masters in Economics & Statistics and a Masters in Marketing Management from Symbiosis Institute of Management.

 

The world of work is changing very rapidly. Job seekers are looking for a taxicab arrangement with their employers, rather than a lifetime contract. We often hear about how technology is taking over thousands of routine tasks and will take away many low-skill jobs. At the same time, technology is creating opportunities, making way for newer jobs – many of them still unknown to us. Studies show that 65% of jobs that today’s school going students will take, do not exist today. The core of Industry 4.0 is largely focused on Automation, Data analytics, Cloud computing, Internet of things (IoT), Artificial intelligence (AI). The key drivers are digitization, smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning. We need to create flexibility in the models of learning.

While Industry 4.0 is still evolving and many job roles of tomorrow are not known today, industry is struggling to upskill their workforce and hire relevant skilled professionals. Our Education system, however, is not preparing students for the jobs of Industry 4.0. Most universities face the difficult trade-offs between cost, quality and scale and should be prepared to skill their students on the newer technologies, job role requirements and help students in continuous learning. As the complexities and specialization in overpowering jobs increase, no single form of learning is sufficient. Learning on the job has been the best form of learning, but that is not only time consuming but also not very cost effective. Learners could pick programs on their own to keep themselves upgraded. These could be learning through digital medium and/or a combination of digital plus classroom-based learning that is today being provided by many training companies by bringing in the best of trainers to class.

Universities need to prepare students not just to earn a degree, but also to make them employable, job and wage ready. Universities should be able to provide on demand learning through various forms of learning seamlessly – OnCampus, OnLine, OnSite, OnJobTraining. Provide various qualification corridors such as Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Degree. Bigger problem in India is that of unemployability and wages rather than unemployment. Job seekers do not get the jobs that pay them the desired salary. Focusing on skilling and education is important to create employable workforce for our industry, however, a much larger focus needs to be in the area of improvising productivity of our workforce. In other words, the Skilling and Education budgets should focus on Repair, Prepare and Upgrade of our workforce.

Over the last decade, there has been a lot of focus on providing vocational skills and making first time job seekers employable. However, vocational skilling and employability has a financing problem. Students don’t want to pay for skilling, but are willing to pay for a job, Employers are not willing to pay for skilling but are willing to pay for a skilled candidate and Government – the largest funder for skilling has a trust deficit. Key skills for industry 4.0 currently are Problem solving, Critical Thinking, Design Thinking, Collaboration, Problem solving, Data Management, Machine Learning, Statistics, Programming, Decision making, Research ability, Analytical skills. While many are cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills are also in demand. Plus, the ability to self-learn and learn continuously is key.

The skill sets required to be successful in college and the skill sets required to succeed in a corporate are like “Chalk and Cheese.” For an individual, starting to work in an organization is a unique and critically important phase that requires a special perspective and strategy to be successful as a fresher. Research suggests that the success of the transition period will have a major impact on aspects like salary, advancement, job satisfaction, and ability to have cordial relationships within the organization as well as on one’s own feelings of success, accountability and commitment to the job. And, the impact will last for many years and not just for the first few years. Preparation for this transition is the key, there is a whole host of skill sets one would need to inculcate to make the journey smooth, and we will look at some of the skills which will ensure workplace success. (As Told to the Editor)

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