Competing with robots: How online learning can help professionals win in the future

by Zairus Master

The CEO of one of India’s largest online job and recruitment portal elaborates on how reskilling can help avoid slowdown.

Highlights:

  • The rise of artificial intelligence and data analytics has changed the dynamics of the jobs market.
  • To remain relevant in today’s fast-evolving, tech-centric job market, employees upgrade their skills regularly.
  • Offline skilling courses will no longer be able to accommodate the influx of job seekers looking to upskill themselves.
  • Online channels offer a viable option for jobseekers looking to upskill.

The future is exciting but not secure. Technologies that are on the top of the value chain become obsolete sooner than anyone can imagine.

A report by McKinsey Global Institute, conducted in 46 countries, predicts that up to 800 million global workers will lose their jobs by 2030 and be replaced by robotic automation. The rise of artificial intelligence and data analytics has changed the dynamics of the jobs market completely. Organisations are looking for an array of new-age skills among employees that can be utilised in fields like marketing, HR, operations, banking, agriculture, chemistry, data mining, cloud computing, finance, stocks and healthcare, among others.

The new economy also requires professionals to possess skills such as creativity, adaptability, critical thinking, leadership and the ability to collaborate seamlessly. No one-time course at a business school can impart all these skills among professionals.

Sector-specific skill gaps in India

Recent studies suggest that the Asia Pacific region is set to face a shortage of 12.3 million professionals by 2020. India alone faces a 40 per cent shortage of job-ready candidates. The IT sector requires around 40 per cent of its professionals to up-skill themselves over the next few years.

Further, according to the Future of Jobs report by FICCI-Nasscom and EY, 20-25 per cent of existing jobs in the BFSI sector will not exist and 15-20 per cent of professionals will be working in job roles that do not exist today. Similarly, a report by the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) mentions that the automobile sector will require 15 million skilled candidates by 2022.

With all sectors undergoing such disruptive transformation, what’s the way out of this conundrum? Re-skilling!

Re-skilling through online learning platforms 

To remain relevant in today’s fast-evolving, tech-centric job market, candidates are expected to upgrade their skills regularly. Professionals, especially in the IT sector where new roles are rapidly evolving and new skillsets are required frequently, must continuously upskill themselves to keep up with the fast pace of emerging technologies. At this scale, e- learning platforms are the only way forward.

Also, as the number of employees looking for upskilling opportunities increases, offline skilling courses will no longer be able to accommodate this demand because the infrastructural set-up required to facilitate such large-scale upskilling is limited. Hence, job seekers will have to start looking at online channels to support their upskilling endeavours.

Thankfully, acquiring these skills through digital means is no longer a challenge. There are several online platforms that offer courses in data science, automation, blockchain, the Internet of Things.  With a flexible approach to learning, these platforms allow professionals to upgrade their skillsets at their preferred pace without having to take a break from their jobs. Such courses add weight to the resume of candidates, increasing their chances of promotion in their current jobs as well as opportunities in other organisations.

These online learning programmes also utilise artificial intelligence and predictive analysis to map skills demand in the industry. This information allows for customised course suggestions for individual candidates, helping them acquire skills that boost their career prospects considerably.

India’s recruitment space is currently going through a peculiar phase. Around 8 million youth enter the country’s job market every year, yet the companies find it difficult to fill vacancies for crucial roles. The reason is the ever-increasing skill gap. New-age skilling platforms have the potential to change the scenario, making India an economy of opportunities that are optimally capitalised upon and realised. With the rise of robotics, re-skilling is the answer to staying relevant.

Zairus Master is CEO of Shine.com, India’s Leading Online Job and Recruitment Portal.

About the Author: Zairus Master