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Upskilling and reskilling are some of the buzzwords that people from the corporate world have been hearing especially after Covid-19. Recent reports suggest that Indian IT companies on one hand are facing an acute dearth of talents and on the other hand have employees who do not have the adequate skill set. And it is not only in technical capabilities like understanding emerging technologies like AI, ML, or Blockchain but also in soft skills. A report published by IBM states that 70 percent of India’s venture capitalists indicated that startups are unable to scale because of the unavailability of employees with the right skill sets especially in IT. The same report goes on to highlight an even greater concern, as many as 70-80 percent of India’s engineering graduates are reported to be functionally unemployable. This brings us to the most important part: how do we change this issue? The answer is not so simple. To make India skill-ready, there has to be an effort from everyone involved, be it the government, the educational institutions, employers, and the employees themselves. And proper communication right through the grass-root level is needed.
4 points on how communication can come to the rescue of India’s acute skill gap:
- The government needs to create the first level of awareness: Any government plays a crucial role in the upliftment of its citizens and skilling is no exception. IT is a field that is not only pursued by students from urban areas but from rural areas as well. But where rural students lack is the guide to the right information. Though information is available in plenty especially after the proliferation of the internet but guidance on how to access this information is needed and this is where government bodies should step in. Communicating through different platforms like educational content on radios and various talk shows, on-ground activities like seminars, and collaborating with various gram panchayats on what skills are needed in the industry will definitely help students to make the right career choices and government should be the first one to take this step.
- Role of schools and colleges in addressing the issue: Educational institutes play a pivotal role in making future leaders understand what is needed from them. It’s not enough to just finish a certain syllabus, but they should also guide them in the right career path. Educational institutes should inculcate the habit of learning, unlearning, and relearning in students. By communicating the right information to students and their parents through various mediums be it career counseling, using PR tools like authored articles and educational content to make students and their wards aware of the recent developments can the job be accomplished. It is pivotal for the senior management of various educational institutes to position themselves as thought leaders not only in their campuses but also in the mass media and give relevant information that can reach as many students as possible and benefit them and help them to make the right career choices.
- Employers need to use Internal Communications effectively: Internal communications are not only about newsletters and company mission and vision but go way deeper than that. Companies can utilize internal communication channels to keep employees abreast with the latest development and should also push them towards striving for more. A survey published by Udemy stated that around 92% of Indian employees have accepted that there is a skill gap that exists in the country. To address this issue employers need to first step up and ensure that they are helping employees in skilling themselves. And the first step is to speak about this issue and help employees make the transition. Many a time employees are unable to understand the bigger picture and get a grasp of the industry. It is the role of employers to utilize various internal communication channels to make the employees aware and give them the bigger picture. In the end, it will not only benefit the employees but the company as well.
- How media can help: Media is the factor that connects all the other three aspects mentioned on top. By using media effectively government and educational institutes can hope to bring a change. Employers can also attract the right talent by being present in various media channels. Insight and educative content that will generate buzz and make people think will and still play a very crucial role.
So, to summarize upskilling can’t be done by anyone also. It has to be a collaborative effort of all parties involved and if they use communication effectively they can plan on bringing the much-needed change.
The above article is authored by Ms. Anindita Gupta, Co-Founder, Scenic Communication.