Why Upskilling is The Need of The Hour In The Post-Pandemic World? 

Why Upskilling is The Need of The Hour In The Post-Pandemic World? 

Today, the technology sector in India is growing at an unprecedented rate. With the advent of new age technologies, today’s workforce has numerous opportunities to excel their professional growth journey. In addition to that, organizations are spending on upskilling their employees in order to keep up with their growth momentum. Upskilling has hence become an important part of the growth agenda for both employers and employees. On World Youth Skills Day, here’s what leaders from across the technology sector have to say:

“The Most Crucial Skill That Technology Professionals Require Today Is The Ability To Continuously Learn And Adapt” 

“Today’s rapid adoption of digital technologies has not only led to an increased demand for digital skills in areas such as cloud, cybersecurity, data, AI and automation, but also for talent who are acquainted with the new ways of working. The most crucial skill that technology professionals require today is the ability to continuously learn and adapt. A continuous learning mindset and continued investments are required to develop technical and functional skills. 

“Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving industry that requires regular upskilling of professionals operating in this space through sophisticated training programmes. Today, cybersecurity professionals may need to learn ethical hacking skills, programming skills, application development security skills, or cloud security skills. They also need to develop domain knowledge in areas of threat intelligence, risk assessment, incident response and identity management. In addition to technical skills, soft skills such as communication, intellectual curiosity, empathy, creativity, innovation mindset, critical thinking, and decision making are vitally important. Employees who can be flexible, adaptable and who can embrace future trends and drive disruptive outcomes will play a crucial role in the growth of this sector. Organizations should provide opportunities to reskill, upskill and retain the existing talent and onboard new employees to meet the future role requirements. The onus is upon the leadership to equip the workforce with coaching, training/mentoring programs, certifications, and collaborative sessions towards experiential learning.” - Jhilmil Kochar, Managing Director, CrowdStrike India.

“By Addressing The Skill Gap, India Can Accomplish Its Vision Of Becoming A $5 Trillion Economy” 

“Digital disruption, evolving business models, and the uncertainty of what the future holds are disrupting our industry, cutting the lifespan of skill sets. Today, technology has become the core of everything we do, and this momentum demands new digital skillsets. According to McKinsey, the demand for tech workers worldwide will rise 55% by 2030. Organizations and aspirants looking for jobs should embrace a culture of lifelong learning and upskill on critical IT skills such as Cybersecurity, Cloud computing, DevOps, AI/Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Blockchain, and Software/Mobile development. Another study by World Economic Forum reported that 50% of all employees will need to reskill by 2025 as the adoption of technology increases. Similarly, soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving are equally important, along with self-management skills such as flexibility and resilience.” 

“It is in this context, the Cisco Networking Academy provides in-demand digital skills such as Networking, OS & IT, Programming, IoT, Infrastructure Automation, and Cybersecurity and has trained over 10,50,000 learners since its inception. I truly believe that India's burgeoning youth presents a considerable opportunity. By addressing the skill gap, India can accomplish its vision of becoming a $5 trillion economy and a global digital superpower.” - Harish Krishnan, Managing Director & Chief Policy Officer, Cisco India and SAARC.

“As Businesses Become Digitally Savvy, Upskilling Employees Regularly Is A Must” 

“With more Gen-Z graduates entering the workforce in today's pandemic struck world, businesses need to ensure that they are catering to their needs and expectations, as many companies are still operating a hybrid workforce. Skills to adopt the changing landscape of digital transformation such as learning to innovate, critical thinking, divergent ways of looking at problem solving and solution centric mindset will be key to the new business models.” 

“As businesses become digitally savvy, upskilling employees regularly is a must in order to avoid any gap between the skillsets available and the needs of the organisation. According to the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs report, 50% of all employees will need reskilling by 2025. The digital workplace of the future will require new skill set as companies are returning to office in full strength. Companies need new business models, where a huge amount of focus is placed on digital operations to save time and efforts of employees. Talent development and mentoring programs should be at the forefront to encourage employees to choose their mentors and develop skills/potential through structured 1:1 connects.” - Romita Mukherjee, Associate Vice President, Human Resources, Whatfix.

“World Youth Skills Day 2022 Is A Key Date To Focus On Improving The Employability Of Young People”

“World Youth Skills Day 2022 is a key date for people and organizations worldwide to focus their efforts on improving the employability of young people, which will boost recovery and progress towards the post-crisis agenda. Inequalities in access to jobs - between men and women, urban and rural areas, those with and without skills - continue to undermine growth, poverty reduction and social cohesion. At Cleartouch we address these challenges by reducing access barriers to work opportunities and by recognizing skills that are developed regardless of where people are in their jobs or careers.” - Uthaman Bakthikrishnan, Executive Vice President, ClearTouch.

“It Is Important to Focus On Complementary Skill Development To Drive Growth Across Industry Sectors” 

“When the pandemic struck, it just took few weeks to change the way businesses functioned and this laid the foundation for accelerated digital transformation. Since then, India has advanced significantly in its road towards building a digitally-driven nation. To further enhance India’s digital capabilities, it is important to focus on complementary skill development to drive growth across industry sectors.” 

Despite the fact that there is a high demand for digitally driven businesses, there is a shortage of qualified individuals that can meet these requirements. If we take cloud computing as an example, a study by NASSCOM shows that India is thought to have a requirement of about two million jobs by 2025, but there are only roughly six lakh competent workers in this field. Today, nearly all meaningful consumer applications and services are cloud-based, prompting the need to upskill the workforce in this area as well as allied fields such as devops, big data, cloud native apps, etc. In a world where skills, particularly those related to technology are so dynamic, the youth need to possess an in-depth knowledge of their specialisation, as well as fundamentals of other disciplines to be competitive in the cut-throat job market. Skills such as artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, cloud fundamentals, real systems thinking, understanding of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) will continue to see a strong demand from employers, and will define the upskilling journey of our young workforce.” - Protima Achaya, India HR Head & APAC Talent Acquisition, NetApp.

“Cybersecurity Has Also Made It to The Most In-Demand Skillsets List”

“With the pandemic introducing all of us to the new normal, digital became the way of life. New-age technologies such as Cloud, AI, RPA and Big data facilitated the creation of a seamless virtual work environment. However, if the talent is not skilled enough to function in such an environment, then it can derail organizations’ digital transformation plans. According to a new Gartner study, businesses consider talent shortage as the biggest barrier to adoption of new technologies. One way to overcome the prevailing skills shortage in the IT industry is by promoting the upskilling and reskilling of employees. Employees need to be provided with avenues such as ‘short term skilling programs’ for them to enhance their skillsets along with their current job role. For instance, we at Clover Academy - our knowledge and training arm’, had received a lot of requests from employees, during and post the pandemic, to offer them short training modules that they can easily access from anywhere and anytime to upskill and reskill themselves. Hence, we had designed brief certifications programs in technologies such as cloud, RPA, and cybersecurity to name a few, and made them available for our employees on a central learning and management system.” 

“Like I have mentioned, the technologies that are an integral part of the virtual and hybrid work environment have become the most sought-after in the IT industry. For instance, cloud plays a major role in ensuring seamlessness of the virtual workspaces. Hence, cloud skills have become one of the most lucrative skillsets. RPA and business process automation technologies that enable the creation of a smarter organization by automating the rule-based and redundant tasks are also in great demand.

Further, with the amount of research going on in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space, its application in the real-world has become more widespread. A plethora of applications that we use on our smart devices are AI and ML powered. Lastly, the significance of ensuring robust security of the digital world cannot be undermined. If we are becoming advanced, then hackers and threat actors are becoming more sophisticated. Hence, cybersecurity has also made it to the most in-demand skillsets list.” - Lakshmi Mittra, VP and Head, Clover Academy.

“Organizations Need to Start Building a Workforce Today That Is Keen to Learn” 

“Skill gap is a reality and organizations at all levels are grappling with it. To bridge the skill gaps and with a view of having a future ready workforce, organizations need to start building a workforce today that is keen to learn, upskill, and ready to go beyond their traditional responsibilities. It is imperative for organizations to identify crucial and in-demand skills and make them a part of their training programme as it helps reduce dependency on the market to backfill these critical roles in the organization.” 

With the changing scenario, the workforce needs to have a well-rounded portfolio that includes innovative thinking, a challenger mind-set and overall business logic as they play an important part in today’s ever-challenging situation. Furthermore, today, India Inc. approach towards digitization has now been accelerated by the Covid- 19 pandemic, which is why it is imperative for organizations to train and upskill their talents to ensure that they keep up with the digital developments. The skill gap is a major concern for organizations as over 60 per cent of companies in India have reported a shortage of talented employees mainly in IT, engineering and sales roles. While there will always be a scarcity of skilled talent, organizations need to upskill and train mid-senior level talents in technical roles to help bridge the skill gap and retain employees.” - Ratnadeep Ray, VP and Head of HR India, Druva.

“It Is Essential To Emphasise The Expanding Importance Of Skills”             

"With the world's largest population base, our country has the potential to witness the highest increase in its workforce in the upcoming decade compared to any other nation. For our future power force to be effective, they must be provided with structured education, established skill sets, and a desire to generate new sources of economic advantage for the country. To make India one of the world's leading youth-skilled powered nations, we as Indian leaders must collaborate with the educational system, workforce community, and skill development institutes and organizations to accomplish a better future. We should actively start eliminating impediments in the employment system by curating and funding upskilling programs according to their interest and world trends to motivate them and prepare them for the ever-evolving world. Regular implementation of correct business values and morals should also be implemented during these training programs to make them better leaders of tomorrow. Additionally, it is essential to emphasise the expanding importance of skills as the world moves toward a sustainable approach to development. By instilling the essential ethics for the welfare of our environment, the youth must also look forward to keeping a healthy balance with nature. As we mark the occasion of World Youth Skills Day, as leaders of today, we should devote ourselves to supporting and encouraging the development of numerous specialized skills at individual, institutional and organizational levels." - Rajesh Uttamchandani, Director, Syska.

“Skill Development for The Next Generation Is A Core Requirement For Every Nation” 

“Skill development for the next generation is a core requirement for every nation, and the right guidance and partnerships to nurture and motivate youth are crucial. Today, the employability of youth in this over-competitive world depends on their desire and enthusiasm to practically learn and polish their skill-sets by applying knowledge, consistently focusing on upgrading skills, utilising evolving technologies, and developing the ability to learn and relearn fresh aspects to deal and adapt with everyday economic situations. We should also encourage our youths to pursue fields that are more sustainable, traditional, and eco-friendly. Today, on World Youth Skills Day, I urge every leader to inspire our youths to take paths that not only assure a new world for us but also a valuable and viable one for our environment.”  - Shantanu Sonaikar, Co-Founder & Director, Pi Green Innovations.

“It Is Crucial to Foster Risk-Taking Skills In Today's Youngsters” 

"As we celebrate World Youth Skills Day, I would like to urge all to pledge toward nurturing tomorrow's thought leaders, change-makers and entrepreneurs through proper guidance and education that is curated to improve their skills. Being the leaders of today, we should fulfil our responsibility of offering practical, innovative, and technical-driven guidance to the young entrepreneurs of today. It is crucial to foster risk-taking skills in today's youngsters and ensure that their enthusiasm for learning and innovative thinking is never compromised. As the world transitions to a sustainable approach to development, it is crucial to emphasise the growing role of skills. The youth must also look forward to maintaining the right balance with nature by imbibing the right values for the well-being of our environment.” - Bishan Jain, Director, Goldmedal Electricals.

“It Is Critical to Build Soft Skills Along with Your Core Skills” 

“Hiring in the tech industry is a topic that is always in the news! After the first wave of IT services, the current boom in the tech industry involves new technologies and it requires a different mindset. The new skills in tech have to do with building world class products and not services. This is where the gap is coming in. Building global products, especially SaaS, requires a mindset which is new and will take some time to build. In India, initiatives like SaaSBoomi help bring SaaS to the mainstream and help in building more conversations which would result in people gearing up for the requirements of the current times. At LogiNext, the leadership actively participates in industry events and colleges across the country to bring about awareness and bridge the gap.” 

“The importance of soft skills and industry relevant skills cannot be stressed upon enough. Be it a developer or a designer or a sales person, soft skills is one of the most important skills that a person should develop because at the end of the day, work is about building value for the customer by working with your team. And all the communications are going to be with people. So, it is critical to build soft skills along with your core skills. The other area is to be industry relevant as soon as the youth graduates. Often, what is taught in colleges doesn't match with what is required in the industry. For the youth, a good way around this is internships. Several technology startups like ours have paid internship programs where students can learn while they're studying and they get equipped with industry knowledge as soon as they graduate! These are two skills which will help the youth go a long way when they enter the workforce.” - Neetha Thomas, Vice President, Human Capital, LogiNext.

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