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    Upskilling may be the only way to survive layoffs, say experts

    Upskilling may be the only way to survive layoffs, say experts

    Upskilling may be the only way to survive layoffs, say experts
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    By Kanishka Sarkar   IST (Updated)

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    Upskilling in the job sector: Shantanu Rooj, CEO and Founder, TeamLease EdTech, said that as layoffs have increased recently and new jobs also emerge, employees would need to stand out as potential candidates for the new opportunities.

    Ask anyone if automation has led to job losses, and the answer would be in affirmation. But a new report says digital adoption also made way for new skill sets and opportunities to be leveraged in the coming years.
    "While automation and smart machines are said to replace over 20 million jobs by 2030, it is estimated that more than 133 million new jobs will be created as early as 2022," claims India Skill Report 2022 by Wheelbox, an online remote proctored testing firm.
    This comes at a time when several startups, especially edtechs, are firing employees in huge numbers amid a funding winter. Globally, tech giants like Microsoft and Meta are also on a layoff spree, while domestic IT firms like Infosys, HCL Tech, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are still facing high levels of attrition.
    According to 150 companies surveyed by Wheelbox, 75 percent said there is a skill gap in the industry, while all retail sector employers agreed that the skill gap will be filled in the coming year.
    The Wheebox report highlights that as the evolving job market demands new skill sets to match available talent with the many emerging opportunities, it is pivotal that the youth are encouraged towards a culture of self-development and acquisition of new skills.
    Shantanu Rooj, CEO and founder of TeamLease EdTech, said that as layoffs have increased recently and new jobs also emerge, employees would need to stand out as potential candidates for the new opportunities.
    “Businesses are looking for digitally conversant, highly adaptive and multi-skilled people who can be moulded into any kind of role. Employees will need to develop not only adjacent skills but also diametrically opposite skills - combinations like technology, and creative, technology and psychology is becoming commonplace,” he told CNBCTV18.com.
    Of increasing value is a CV brimming with examples of lifelong learning and professional development, he added.
    Meanwhile, an edtech platform, Imarticus Learning, witnessed about a 70 percent hike in registration of the young professionals on its platform for upskilling.
    Nikhil Barshikar, Founder and Managing Director, Imarticus Learning, also said that experienced professionals need to upskill themselves to remain updated with the ever-evolving technologies in the job market.
    "But unfortunately, the Indian education system is quite old-fashioned. Therefore, we need to bring cognitive skills, growth mindset, cultural intelligence and digital literacy influence here to create innovators and entrepreneurs in the country," he said.
    Another industry player BridgeLabz, in its survey, also pointed to a highly positive intent to upskill. About 90 percent of the respondents to BridgeLabz’s survey said they are willing to take up upskilling courses with a job guarantee.
    Industry experts cited by BridgeLabz state that if a company is facing the threat of mass layoffs as their employees are not adding value, they can take help from edtech platforms to upskill their workforce. That way, the added value increases, and the company also gains employees' loyalty.
    Another trend that emerged from the survey was that 71.31 percent of graduates would opt for a course that gets them a job without an interview, while 53.06 percent want preparation for a job interview to be a part of the upskilling programme. Over 43 percent respondents of the 1,100 people surveyed want soft skills training, and 3.67 percent want help with resume preparation.
    Rooj of TeamLease said that educational institutions and employers must work together to create new programmes with pedagogies that help acquire academic knowledge and also build employability skills.
    “Equivalence of learning between online, onsite, on-campus and on-job classrooms, modular programmes providing flexibility and innovation on assessments that rates not only academic knowledge but the ability of the learner to put that to use shall help create new age programs, he said.
    TeamLease Edtech founder added that programmes like degree apprenticeships that integrate online and on-job learning have higher value while bringing an employer financing of education would work well to produce readily employable graduates for the industry.
    On the other hand, TeamLease Education Foundation, Sumit Kumar, Chief Business Officer, explained that only 1.5 percent of the people graduating from Ivy League colleges are able to get the jobs of their preference. Rest are reeling under unemployability, (technical graduates at 47 percent and non technical at 22 percent).
    "Hence, upskilling is a key preparation process to be job ready. However, there is more to skills that determine the chances of employment i.e. fitment and alignment to organisation's culture and values; and softer aspects like one's attitude and aptitude that reflects in body language and conversation," he said.
    Kumar stressed that upskilling is a continuous process that needs to be practiced throughout their career. As much as it is relevant to become employable, it is extremely essential to remain employable and elongate the career lifecycle. "We have seen a lot happening in the IT space about 5 years back and even now that organisations and individuals are going through an upskilling process to upgrade their skill sets to adapt to the newer technologies," he said.
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