Get Up-skilled, Learn and Stay Relevant

India’s unemployment rate at over 7% is all time high in 45 years. Despite churning out 9 million graduates every year and steady rise in the number of people entering higher education, unemployment remains a serious issue. With half of the 1.3 billion people in India under 25 years, the average age being 29 by 2020, India has a large working-age population. If this young population is not engaged and and remain unemployed, the country could be facing the unpleasant situation of unskilled youth and obsolete workforce which is a matter of grave concern as it could lead to social unrest.

Most of the reasons cited have long existed since the problem received attention but the one reason that grabbed headlines persistently in recent times is ‘employability’ – the skills and attributes of a person that make him/her fit for a job or employment’. There is no denying the fact that technology has become a major part of our life, and is one of the important forces that drive the industrial wheel. Technological advancements have eliminated many jobs and it is predicted that in the future machines will take up most of the jobs that humans used to do. The jobs that exist today may no longer exist in the future and we have very little idea of what the future jobs will be. The rapid rate of skill obsolesce has made people increasingly ‘unemployable’. The need for skills that are distinct and exceptional is therefore no longer ‘desirable’ but rather a ‘must-have’.

What is it that industry looks for in a prospective employee? In today’s fast changing times, ask any industry leader and the answer you will get is - the right attitude. It is about the ability to adapt, to collaborate and to take the right decisions. Thus, it is not only about acquiring the functional/hard skills which is the ability to do a specific task such as technical, finance, marketing, operations etc that will make you employable or ‘fit’ for future jobs. It is about holistic skilling which encompasses all those that define one’s attitude and personality like people skills, interpersonal and social skills, communication skills, and emotional intelligence.

Blaming the government or technology is of no use. To adapt, one has to take responsibility for one’s career and take charge. The onus of designing one’s career rests in one’s own hands. On the brighter side, technological advances and the changes are ushering in huge opportunities and it is upon us to take advantage of them. An understanding of the skills that meets the future requirement is a must. Apart from understanding the skill gap that is necessary, knowing one’s strength, interest and capability is very critical.

Above all, one with an open mind who accepts change, embraces new ideas, stays curious, and is inspired with an interminable urge to learn will not only adapt to the changes but enjoy the challenges of change. Therefore, equip yourselves by exploring your interest, discovering your strengths and developing your personality. There is a plethora of options available, both online and otherwise. Don’t wait for change but ‘be the change’ like Gandhiji said. Learn each day, prepare for challenges and stay relevant!

By Vandana Madhavkumar