Educated & Unemployed – The Modern India

An insight on India’s Skill Gap demolishing the nation’s employability

The concept of ‘one size fits all’ blanketing the mainstream Indian education system has only pushed the edges of the skill gap prevailing in the country miles away from each other. Knowledge alone has never been the one defining factor that landed a person his/her job. Skillsets have always been instruments of utmost importance for any working professional to succeed at his/her workspace. 

The skill gap in India is the imminent threat that clouds the unemployed population of the country. According to a report by Accenture published on January 2019, 3 million plus graduates and post graduates enrol in the Indian workforce every year and only 25% of those applicants are considered employable in the IT and ITES segments. Looking at the global picture, with the presence of a skill mismatch and the absence of skill building in comparison to the rate of technological progress, the economies of the G20 nations are at the risk of losing up to US$11.5 trillion in potential cumulative GDP growth over the next 10 years. In India alone, due to the lack of youth with adequate, relevant and job ready skills for the digital economy, there is a risk of losing US$ 1.97 trillion over the next decade. Although the overall employability rate in India has moved up from 40.44% to 45.60% in the year 2017-2018, only 52% of the engineers are found employable. A huge 48% still remain incarcerated in the shackles of unemployment.

NGOBOX’s 2017 India CSR Outlook Report points out that 376 crores were spent during the year 2016-2017 for skill development programmes all across the country. With this, there was an obvious increase in the number of trained youths in the country. The youths were trained in various vocational skills which looked very well for the Skill India programme. Not long after, loopholes and gaps emerged in the skill training programmes too. The NSDC statistics on placements show that only half of the trained youth are employed while the other half are still suffering from unemployment. Also, the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) placed their focus on the youths’ skill development but failed when it came to evaluating workspace opportunities post their skill training.

The varied nature of work today requires a mixture of soft and hard skills present in a working individual for him to be able to sustain himself in his place of work. The basic skills for employability include the person having:

  • Basic Education (literacy and numeracy skills)

  • Vocational and Technical expertise (specialised skills and knowledge)

  • Professional and Personal (individual attributes)    

  • Core work skills (ability to learn and adapt, communication skills, problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, etc.)

Looking at skill gap from a corporate perspective, there are quite a number of methods that businesses can adopt to bridge the skills gap. Their resources can be used as a proper form of investment that would actually cultivate and nurture the skill growth amongst the youth of the country. A few of those methods include-

  • Building enterprise and institute partnerships which can bring workforce development

  • Fostering knowledge/innovation clusters

  • Sectoral alliances

  • Global partnerships

  • Skill development programmes moving down company supply chains

  • National training funds

  • CSR

  • Earn and learn programmes

Even within skill development, there lies a bigger problem. The accessibility of skill development activities amongst government school students is at an almost negligible level when in reality, they are the ones who need it the most. They need these skill development programmes and activities to break out from the vicious cycle of poverty that they are intertwined with and live decent lives in decent income households.