India has a one billion plus strong population. Plus, according to a leading business daily it has a combined workforce of 145 million. Yet, industry is struggling to meet demand. This seems to defy economic logic where there is an oversupply of resources and yet demand cannot be met. A major reason for the same is the lack of skills present in the workforce. Around 85% of the workforce is unskilled and unemployable. The major challenge India faces is to provide adequate skills training to turn these resources into a productive labour pool.
Attrition, lack of employable talent and managing the talent pipeline, including succession planning are serious issues which need to be addressed by Indian corporates. Colleges and other institutions of higher education are not churning out enough job-ready candidates. According to a recent survey by the Times of India, MBAs are becoming increasingly redundant. While MBA seats have increased by 30% since 2007, recruiting companies have found that only 21% of these graduates were employable. To put this in perspective, only 1 out of 5 students that graduate from b-schools are job ready.
So how can this supply-demand gap be bridged? One way is to provide adequate training to the youth and equipping them with the requisite skills. Improving India's vocational education and skills training program can help address demand-supply issues to a large extent. Vocational training can help candidates acquire skill sets to supplement their academic studies and make them better prepared for work life. There needs to be clearer communication between industry and academic institutions in order to make coursework more relevant for the job. Plus, the government needs to engage more with private players through sector-specific skills councils. Thus industry experts in their respective domains can help provide trainings. Rural India, which accounts for a bulk of the workforce, is sorely lacking in soft skills such as communication, personal effectiveness, handling customer queries, etc. If rural India can pick up basic skills that include English proficiency, and training for semi-skilled jobs they can actually better their livelihood and that of their future generations. And eventually better the prospects of India as a country.