There is always a gap between our education system and the expectations of the employers and this is a hot topic around the world today. Each year, 15 million youngsters are entering the work force and more than 75% in that work force are not job ready. India will need 700 million skilled workers by 2022 to meet the increasing job demand.
This imbalance is due to the lack of technical and soft skills that the students fail to develop during their academic life.
For recruiters, job-related knowledge is more important than educational qualification. Who should solve the skill gap, is not a new question. In my understanding, the role of schools and universities is to prepare us for the rest of our lives. Following an old & outdated syllabus can never help today’s generation to face the future. Though I accept the essence of old curriculum, we are in need of a change, a change to the system to fulfill the industry’s expectations (minimum two papers in each specialization).
Creativity is always appreciable. Industries are expecting people who are creative thinkers, so this is the time to prove or change our skills to become more employable or marketable in the industry and to succeed in the business world. The combination of young (creative, technical, skill-based) and old (conventional, conceptual) education system will improve the students to think more and create more. There will be a demand in the future that is relevant to the young and the old skills.
In simple words, a candidate must be good in Organizational behavior & Decision making as well as being able to adapt to the situation and think out of the box (Problem solving skills). Every employee will get an opportunity to prove herself/himself in dire situations and those who utilize that opportunity can help the company grow as well as raise in ranks within the organization.
Technical education plays a dynamic role in the development of a country’s human resource by creating skilled manpower. To get the transformation, apart from the hard skills, we need to develop the students in the areas of required soft skills.
But, can we differentiate hard skills and soft skills in a technical industry?
Let’s take IT industry as an example.
Hard skills are generally objective, measurable, and teachable skills that involve some sort of technical ability. In IT, this can be programming, application development, data mining, network administration, etc.
Soft skills tend to be more subjective and intangible, revolving more around an individual's personal qualities. These include leadership, communication skills, or a positive attitude, among countless other attributes one can have including organizational behavior.
IT professionals need to be able to successfully interact with customers and vendors, manage departments, and convey their ideas to others while managing a team of developers and manage projects.
This combination of Hard skills and Soft skills would help the students to transform them into skilled professionals.
Skill gap between the industry’s expectations and the student’s performance:
Knowledge workers (SME) are required only in particular areas but organizations need a leader who can find the new opportunities, give creative ideas and solutions to the current issues in the market.
They are expecting innovative workers, not just knowledge workers. What is the innovation from industry’s perspective? They need people who can differentiate themselves according to their ability to understand the context, to find the right situation to deliver the process, to change the traditional norms to new creation and innovative solutions to the current challenges they face.
According to Sam Herring (CEO of Intrepid), to bridge the skill gap, we need to know the three C’s that will be required in the future, i.e., Curiosity, Commitment and Continuous learning. When a person has curiosity, he will embrace the opportunity to learn a new subject and that will give a confidence to step into the new field. It’s like a chain reaction, that when we have curiosity, it brings us to the point of commitment and the commitment persuades the person to continuously learn and grow more.
So if you need to achieve the organizational goals and satisfy the industry’s expectations, as a student you ought to have curiosity to learn the new field and should have commitment and continuous learning to achieve greater. To come to this point, colleges need to collaborate with the industries to design a curriculum that integrates technologies education and advancements.