Newest Entrants to India’s Workforce Need Upskilling and Training

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(The following excerpt from Allegis Group’s latest research report, “Global Workforce Trends 2018,” focuses on India, where the workforce trends include a young population and large workforce, by numbers, suggesting a need for upskilling and training to help employers address a time when demand outpaces a supply of critical skills.)

Long viewed as a source of IT talent to fill in workforce gaps experienced by other countries, India is experiencing its own skills shortage. In terms of sheer numbers of workers, however, the country is strong, and according to a Deloitte article, India is predicted to lead the addition of workers to the APAC economy over the next 10 years. At the same time, India’s reported unemployment rate in Trading Economics remains extremely low, hovering around 3.5 percent. It is important to note, however, that the rate is infrequently issued and does not capture lower-end, informal laborers.

Demand for IT skills has long been a force in India’s economic picture as a thriving IT outsourcing industry facilitated the growth of a highly skilled portion of the workforce. That level of skill lent itself to other industries as well, including manufacturing, healthcare, and legal outsourcing.

The nature of work is evolving in India as the skilled portion of the workforce is stretched thin, and the country struggles to keep pace in educating its workforce for newer innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. According to one report, India is expected to add around 200,000 IT jobs in 2018. Digital technologies, AI, and robotics are cited as areas for growth. By 2022, the country is estimated to have 600 million workers, with nine percent of that number employed in jobs that are nonexistent today.

Standing in the way of a thriving Indian economy is a need to upskill its workforce to meet new technology demands. Less than five percent of the workforce has received formal skills training (compared to approximately 50 percent in other developed nations). In a country where roughly 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas, higher levels of formal education can be difficult for many workers to attain. Also, a large number of Indian professionals emigrate to take jobs in foreign countries. In essence, the struggles of countries like the U.S., the Eurozone nations, and Japan to fill IT vacancies using less expensive Indian workers is causing a labor shortage in India itself.

To address the need for new skills, India’s government has launched some programs to promote education, including the Skill India Initiative, which aims to train 400 million people by 2022. Since its inception in 2015, Skill India has trained more than 11.7 million people. In India, companies are likely to take a growing role in the training and upskilling of their own workforces, but they will be challenged to keep those workers from emigrating elsewhere for better opportunities.

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Report: Gain Visibility into Workforce Supply and Demand

Companies across the globe face substantial competition for workers with critical skills. Competition is not limited to industry rivals, as companies often look for talent with similar, in-demand skills across sectors. Each region presents unique challenges/opportunities for talent acquisition professionals. So in order to win the war for talent, organizations need granular visibility into workforce supply and demand, improved talent acquisition capabilities, and a commitment to retaining the workers they have.

For more perspectives on the changing workforce, download your copy of our “Global Workforce Trends 2018” report today.

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