I am delighted to participate in NATCON 2019 conference on ‘India’s Changing Paradigm: Skills and Entrepreneurship for Global Competitiveness’’.
Indeed, the theme chosen by the National Institute of Personnel Management Personnel (NIPM) for NATCON 2019 is very apt.
As you all are aware, India is a young nation with nearly 54 percent of the total population under 25 years and 65 per cent of population below 35 years.
It is estimated that about 250 million young people will join India’s workforce over the next decade, bringing with them new skills in a rapidly changing competitive world. The new wave of technologies and digitization has transformed the industry in an unprecedented manner. As a result, the skills set needed for the future workforce in a world of disruptive technologies will be totally different. Automation and artificial intelligence will greatly influence the requirements of the industry.
To enhance this journey of human development through focused skilling efforts and talent nurturing, many innovative approaches are being adopted by several stakeholders in the larger talent and skilling eco-system
While fundamental skills, like literacy, basic understanding of computer, internet, and communication skills either in mother tongue or English are extremely relevant, it is equally important to anticipate the innovation and breakthrough processes required for the future and ensure the availability of high quality work force to meet the demands of different sectors.
The World Economic Forum estimates that 35 percent of core skills will change causing more than a million people to seek different types of employment.i
I am must compliment NIPM for organizing this conference by keeping the future requirements in mind.
In the skill eco-space, Business leaders and HR leaders should mine talents as skilling is assuming greater importance than ever before this 21st century technology-dependent job market
It should be noted that skill does not mean only knowing a task or performing a certain activity with precision. It means the willingness and readiness of the person to learn new technology and adapt to the changing technological requirements.
As you all are aware, India ranks 80th on Global Talent Competitive Index according to a report released by INSEAD Business School in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group in January 2019.
The report measured levels of Global Talent Competitiveness by looking at 68 variables such as ease of hiring, gender earnings gap and prevalence of training in firms. It said that India's biggest challenge was to improve its ability to attract and retain talent.
Creating a workforce with appropriate skilling is important to reduce unemployment, raise incomes, and improve standards of living. It not only guarantees employment but also helps in the socio-economic development of people, especially women.
According to the World Bank, more than two billion working-age adults are not equipped with the most essential literacy skills required by employers. Among young adults under the age of 25, the number is about 420 million worldwide.
The rapidly changing global economy demands workers to be innovative, flexible and adaptive. It is important for companies, corporate and individual professional firms to invest in employee’s skill development, training and confidence-building.
Dear sisters and brothers, there is also a need to think beyond global skill supply and focus on creating more risk-taking entrepreneurs.
I appreciate the organizers for taking both entrepreneurship and skilling as two key focus areas of the event. One generates employment and the other makes a person eligible for employment.
As I have mentioned earlier, we have an excellent demographic dividend with youth as our strength.
In order to make India competitive in the skill and entrepreneurship arena, we must create an environment for entrepreneurship to thrive. This calls for a paradigm shift in the way we perceive skilling and entrepreneurship. Focus on scale, speed and quality are important.
Inculcating the spirit of entrepreneurship right from school age and empowering youth to become job creators rather than job seekers requires immediate attention.
Programs such as Skill India, Startup India, and Standup India should not be limited to government departments. Participation of Industry from all sectors, involving educational institutions and vocational training centers is extremely crucial for fully realizing the huge potential offered by those programs.
While we can be justifiably proud of India’s achievements in global indexes in respect of Milk Production, Remittance, and Global Retail Development and its below 10 ranking in the areas of Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness (2), Worlds Most valuable Nation Brand (7): Foreign Direct Investment- Confidence (8) and in Foreign Direct Investment inflows – (10), we have to focus on improving our global competitiveness index.
We need to collectively work towards eliminating inequalities in knowledge acquisition, close digital and gender gaps and intensify the efforts at skilling the youth on a war footing. Strong foundations must be laid to provide vocational and technical skills to rural youth. There is a need to have a good mix of formal education, off-the-job and on-the-job training.
Increased internet penetration provides an opportunity to train rural youth. Location-specific and Industry-centric skills are the best way to empower them. Otherwise, we will not be able to realize our demographic dividend.
Revamping our education system in a holistic manner from the primary school level to higher education with greater focus on academia-industry interaction and enhancing the component of vocational training are crucial for creating a skilled workforce.
I do hope that the new education policy will address some of these issues. Education being on the concurrent list, central and state governments must work together in promoting vocation-based syllabus.
I am glad that as part of the reforms, the government has created a separate ministry for skill Development. The setting up of National Skill Development Council and formulating National Skills Qualification Framework are all steps in the right direction.
I am glad that you are deliberating on quality rather than quantity of skill supply against the demand for talent across sectors. Only if we are cost and quality competitive, we will attract more FDI and our products will be preferred beyond talent sourcing.
Finally, before concluding, I would urge the industry to play a bigger role in developing a highly-skilled manpower that would not only meet the requirements not only of India, but the globe as well.