India’s Employability & Skilling Puzzle: Experts’ Views on Ways to Solve the Problem

Higher skill proficiency is linked to GDP growth, labour force participation, and income equality. Unemployment and lack of skilled workforce have always been a big issue in India, more so in today’s day and age.

According to the India’s Skills Report 2019-20, only about 46.21% of students were found employable or ready to take up jobs in 2019. Coursera in its Global Skills Index 2020 reported India’s unemployment rate at 27.1% in early May as nearly 122 million Indians lost their jobs between March and April over the COVID-19 lockdown. According to Udemy’s 2019/2020 Global Skills Gap Report – a special data survey-report that provides a comprehensive look at the divide between job-seekers’ skills and the qualifications demanded by employers – Indian employees found the skill gap highest, after Brazil. According to the report, 92% of full-time employees in India agree that there is a skills gap in the country and 76% of them feel personally affected by it; 82% agree that college education has not equipped them with the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market; 84% say that skills are changing so rapidly that their current knowledge is fast becoming obsolete; the majority (92%) say that there is so much competition in the job market that they need to be constantly upskilling.

To address the issue and cater to this massive national demand, the government has launched several initiatives, and several private enterprises have also come up with various solutions.

Community Opinion Poll data indicates a clear disconnect

Community Opinion (Poll data indicates a clear disconnect)

And lately, with the EdTech boom, several startups have also jumped into the space and offered various employability and skilling courses leveraging technology. But what is really needed to solve this massive employability and skilling puzzle in India is a coordinated effort among companies, governments, industries, campuses and educational institutions across the country.

As a part of its effort to close this skills gap and to bring the stakeholders together, EdTechReview recently hosted a webinar on “Solving India’s Employability & Skilling Puzzle: The EdTech Way” in association with AWS EdStart, an education technology-focused accelerator. The webinar was moderated by Utkarsh Lokesh (CEO & Editor, EdTechReview) and joined by experts Ramanan Ramanathan (Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, Additional Secretary, Niti Aayog), Sunitha Viswanathan (Vice President, Unitus Ventures), Balamurugan SP (Co-founder & CEO, GUVI), R. Sreenivasan (Co-founder, CL Educate), and Amit Nevatia (Educate Program Lead, AWS).

EdTechVoices Webinar 3 - Speakers

In the webinar, the speakers talked about a range of things, from decoding the complex Indian employment landscape to explaining the various initiatives taken to address the problem, and how different stakeholders can partner and support those initiatives. They also talked about several challenges and growth opportunities in the skilling space; shared insights on future skills and job market, and how certain startups are solving the problems using innovative approaches, among other things.

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