India needs to constantly find new ways to leverage the vast talent pool through skilling initiatives. Young people between 18 and 29 years constitute 22% of India’s population (Youth in India report by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, GoI). The growth of Non-tier 1 cities since 2020 to now has resulted in a vast talent pool emerging from cities with inadequate corporate infrastructure. Non-tier 1 cities showed an impressive growth amidst the global pandemic. In the run-up to World Population Day on Sunday, July 11, we are taking stock of the immense wealth of India’s talent pool.
Talent pool in 2021
The vast majority of employable young Indians consist of Computer Science graduates, Mechanical engineering and Civil engineering graduates. This indicates the technically sound populace of emerging professionals ready to tackle the demands of India’s growing industrial needs. The adoption of advanced technologies such as AI, Big Data, Robotics, Virtual Reality and automated technologies are basing the premise for India’s bright future. Provided that specialized education and certification programmes can be availed by the qualified technical student base of India, industries – especially bio-technology, pharma, healthcare, energy, logistics and business operations – will be hiring more employees in the coming year.
With the IT industry posing as the fastest-growing counterpart of today’s economy, a spike in technical hardware expertise and software engineering roles is imminent. If the quality of the technical education in India can stand the test of time, the economy can make use of this vast talent pool of technical leadership and thought leadership for the future.
The B.Pharma, Polytechnic, B.Com and BA courses also retain their position in employability where more students are job-ready this year. The strength of B.Sc, BA and B.Com students who are job ready will offer companies with a strong mantle to furnish their workforce. Provided that the economy continues to create more opportunities to diversify the talent of youth, technical and non-technical education will pay off for the students. Thought leadership is required at all levels of academia and industry to ensure that the vast talent pool of India’s youth is used to the optimum function of its economy. When 45.9% are job-ready resources, according to the India Skills Report 2021, special focus on skilling is necessary.
There is a steady rise in numerous startups and social enterprises over the past 5 years, where the average age of startup owners is reported at 31 years old. The COVID-19 pandemic set a lot of layoffs in motion. Yet, the slow revival of the economy was aided by the positive hiring intent of small, medium and large businesses. If the jobs available in India cannot meet the demands of highly qualified youth from various domains, the coming years will witness a rise in alternating career paths among students of any given domain. Similarly, when the demand rises in certain sectors like IT, Pharma, Healthcare, Engineering and Energy, the available resources should be competent to match the industry expectations. The choice of an alternate career is easily available to most students due to the access to technology and this could affect the job-ready talent available for many industries.
The labour market primarily comprises the vast gig economy in India. With software tools and increased global connectivity of the internet, Indian writers, programmers, speakers, designers and teachers are all going online. The gig economy was a big chunk of internet activity in 2020. Owing to the lockdowns and restrictions, many people found ways to make money online through the gig economy. While labour intensive tasks witnessed a steep decline in available resources, the internet economy is thriving.
Furthermore, the popularity of online data entry, copywriting, social media management, e-commerce and online businesses have increased the number of freelancers and gigs available in the country. An estimated 15 million Indians relied on freelance work in 2020, a number expected to exceed in the coming years.
Women in the workforce
A United Nations report states that more than 2 billion women work in the informal sector worldwide, with a huge percentage coming from countries in Asia, South America and Africa. Evidence signifies that most people who enter the informal economy do not enter by choice, but due to the consequence of lack of opportunities in the formal economy, paired with the absence of another means of livelihood.
Considering the population of qualified and employable human resources in India being women, the country is expected to make reforms in existing infrastructure to accommodate this vast talent pool. By doing so, India can set a trend for every emerging economy to reverse the gender roles and create sustainable opportunities for the future of globalization and world commerce. The increase in the number of job-ready women offers an opportunity of the local employment landscape to address the underlying social issues and create a viable means of economic fortitude for the nation. When filling the skill gaps that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic, the representation of women in various sectors of the economy is crucial.
The Indian government requires a constant push to ensure that gender parity is no longer an issue, but the force that guides the talented workforce of India towards a future of prosperity. In fact, awareness starts with each household and each individual to ensure that people everywhere deserve equal rights, opportunity and consideration in the face of employment and livelihoods.
The government should monitor every skill development initiative to enable operational efficiency and access to the vast talent pool of India’s youth. Training institutes in the country are required to carry on the impact of targeted education through specialized certifications and training programmes. The various government initiatives to upskill India’s talent has dominated the media, without having the required impact on urban and rural areas. In fact, the allocated funding is much higher than the positive impact of generating skilled resources for the country’s employability landscape.