Technology As An Accelerator

In a rapidly evolving economy, matching skilled labor to job openings and aspirations is one of the primary challenges facing recruiters. In a survey conducted among 2,547 businesses across India in August 2018, it was found that 77% of the businesses were unable to find the right talent. Broadly, an average manpower deficit of 15-20% in industries such as logistics, facility management, on-demand services, etc., was evident. The shortage was more acute in the MSME segment, where 91% of respondents were unable to find the right people.

 

One of India’s biggest challenges is to ensure investment in the right skills and the right vocational training for our manpower, and technology plays a key role in the below mentioned areas: -

 

Demand-driven supply

 

The traditional approach has been to get a degree and then look for a job. Maybe we need to turn that thinking on its head – how about we shape our education and vocational training to match the job market’s demand? This is where technology steps in – they can help aggregate the job market demand into an actionable format. And it will be an added bonus if we can customize the skilling to match the needs of the job. Almost every job today includes customer interaction, but the quality of customer interaction changes depending on the context of a job. E.g., the security guard in a mall has some common skills needed to guard an ATM, but an ATM’s security guard needs to be armed, and have the ability to scrutinize ATM users.

 

Millennial opportunities

 

India has one of the highest numbers of youth in the workforce. However, much of the younger generation does not believe in sticking to any job until retirement. There is an inherent opportunity in the younger generation’s risk-taking nature, and short attention spans – apps can be harnessed to teach new skills in a byte-sized format. Such skilling can also prove to be more inclusive, since those who cannot afford physical classroom coaching still have access to training, given the deep penetration of smartphones in the country. On the job front, something that has the potential of growing huge is the “gig economy”, where you are engaged and paid as microentrepreneurs for tasks like driving, delivery, being a beautician, etc. With our culture of “Do It for Me” unlike in countries in North America and Europe, where they prefer “Do It Yourself”, the demand in this segment is expected to grow in the coming years. Digital Platforms like taxi aggregators, e-commerce, food delivery, etc., have enabled this.


Frictionless migration

 

More than two-thirds of the workforce in the semi-formal economy are migratory. We have to use technology to build the right ecosystem to create village level microentrepreneurs which can be sold through leading e-commerce platforms. That said, we continue to see people migrating from rural areas to cities for jobs. These economic migrants need to be assisted with the right avenue for jobs, people who can render support or create their social network, etc. Technology can help us create a networked ecosystem which matches people to jobs, to those who can help them, and more importantly, create a support system that helps people to become the supply matching the demand.

Pravin Agarwala is the Co-founder & CEO of a leading organisation which is a blue-collar lifecycle management platform. An industry veteran with a strong tech background, Pravin has previously worked as the VP and Global Head at SAP.

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