Skill Gap and the Brouhaha that surrounds it!
The much discussed and debated phenomenon of skill gap is not just an American thing. Definitely, it is a big concern for their economy that homes more than twelve million jobless Americans. Still, skill gap can’t be labeled as ‘Amreecan’. Look at the Indian economy; the numbers and statistics may differ in its case but the situation is akin to that in America. Both countries nurture a vast pool of human capital, which is currently in its employable years. Structural unemployment, curriculum mismatch, and most importantly, the supply-demand lopsidedness are only a few of the uncountable reasons that contribute to skill gap, which ultimately results in unemployment.
Lack of Skills or Lack of Jobs
While there is no mystery about the fact that jobs always fall scanty of the demand, it would be downright incorrect to say that skill gap is a myth. While a lot has been written and proved against skill gap, it will be unjust to consider it the sole reason for the existing mismatch between availability and need of jobs. Take for example the ‘free will’ of a prospective employee – you can’t force him to work in the IT domain (Even when he is qualified and skilled for it) if he is looking forward to join a media firm.
You will get to see a number of young men and women working by the street side selling newspapers or other stuff. You know they will somehow manage to sell the stuff, which clearly shows that sales skill is not the problem here. The real problem lies in their education and grooming. A primary level experience with a small vendor is enough for them to set up their own workshop. How do they learn so quickly? What makes them realize their dreams without them having any education to boast of? Seems like education is not a problem! Is it then the lack of jobs? Here, you have a vicious circle of unemployment, skill gap and the free hand of economy – everything spun together in a paradox.
A Case against Corporations
The picture gets all the more dirty when you dig deeper to cull out the root reason of skill gap. To be noted – most companies are not ready to hire additional workforce that is likely to dispense and shrink profit earnings. The situation is most likely in case of private companies. It is a simple and rewarding strategy for private company owners to dismiss any candidate quoting the reason as skill gap. The cash piling goes on and so does the rate of unemployment. What you have on statistics is a blurred picture of inflated figures shouting out loud that the nation suffers from skill-gap.
The Situation in ‘IT’ Industries
There was a time when those who worked in IT in India were regarded and respected as extremely learned people in any part of the world. Check the statistics today and you will know the gigantic shift of opinion that has happened. It’s a matter of early past, precisely as of November 29, 2012, when the papers reflected a grim picture for the IT industry in India. The exact words printed in “The Times of India” – “Only 2.68% engineers of the five lakh India produces annually meet the skill requirements of the IT products sector, according to a survey by employ-ability assessment firm Aspiring Minds.”
The Current Education System
Must we blame the education system? Is it all that bad? May be it is not spot on with the industry requirements and needs a few (or probably many) changes; however, calling it lame is unmerited. There are many loopholes that need to be fixed.The current education system does not focus very well on training people on the skill sets that the respective industries demand. The government is therefore taking precise and requisite measures to ensure that skill gap is closed not only rapidly but also in an effective and efficient manner. Vocational and Voluntary education training initiatives as well as in-house training programs deployed by private sector players have proved to be effective in the past. The situation today calls for a root-cause analysis of the problem of unemployment linked to skill-gap. In a nutshell, the economy needs improvement from a strategic viewpoint of skill integration in national GDP.
Premlesh Machama is the Managing Director of CareerBuilder India