The Indian economy posting a five quarter high growth of 7.2% in the October- December 2017 period has created optimism about the growth opportunities in the new fiscal year. With the impact of demonetisation and GST fading away, FDI flows are expected to be healthy along with revival of all-round business activity, including manufacturing, agriculture and construction.
This momentum should create more opportunities for investment, financial inclusion, formalisation of the informal economy and digitisation. What is noteworthy is that global growth is also on the rise—from 3.2% in 2016 to 3.6% in 2017 and set to touch 3.7% in 2018, thus enabling more than 75% of the world economy to prosper from this growth, as per a Deloitte report.
Even if global growth is a tad lower than what has been estimated, the global opportunity continues to be an added advantage for India . The country will be able to take advantage of the attractive opportunities ahead with its strategic thrust on human capital, coupled with smart investments in different sectors. If we wish to capitalise on the demographic dividend which is in favour of India, the Indian workforce has to be skilled and readied for the opportunity landscape with the help of innovative models, marking a significant departure from the past with its training and talent development models.
First, it is important to create successful role models who become aspirational for the youth. It is possible to design programmes that have the potential to make skills acquisition attractive on the strength of the earning and career growth potential of the candidates. Therefore, there is an urgent need to rethink the academic and skilling models aimed at aspiration building and alignment with their interest areas. There is also a need to tightly couple the training modules with practical apprenticeships in the industries and provide exposure to the youth on the new-age practices and technologies in use such that they are in a position to adapt to the emerging requirements for new categories of skills.
Every role in the future will require a combination of analytical skills, problem solving skills and articulation skills apart from technical skills. Hence, it is important to revisit the skills agenda in this context and build the learnability quotient in every individual who should be confident to learn on the go and adapt to the environment. With the enhanced opportunities for blue collared, grey collared and white collared jobs in the global market, combined with the above stated skills, communication skills in languages of those countries with scarce domestic resource pool but poised for steady growth in their GDP, offer attractive opportunities for the youth of our country. NSDC has commenced a pilot programme in this direction with the first cohort of ITI trained students also equipped with Japanese language skills being sent to work as apprentices in the manufacturing segment in Japan for a three-year period.
Such opportunities present unique avenues for the youth of our country to enhance their earning potential significantly on the strength of such training not only in foreign lands but also on account of their premier skills being able to command competitive compensation in India upon their return from their assignments. Another exciting phenomenon is digital transformation which is likely to deliver $158 billion to India’s GDP by 2021 as per a recent study by Microsoft. This presents enormous opportunities for skilling the youth in 55 new job roles as identified by Nasscom. Livelihood opportunities being promoted on the basis of self-employment or entrepreneurship could also become attractive when coupled with the immediate potential to find markets or customers.
Often, budding ventures with the capability to service the demand are limited by their ability to identify markets with growth potential due to their limited experience and reach. Bringing together large businesses and small enterprises as has been done successfully in the US under SBIR scheme could pave the way for entrepreneurial ventures to take off. Public sector companies have already started moving in this direction and this heralds a positive trend for small and new businesses.
The future for skills and job creation is extremely bright with the growth landscape ahead and the opportunity for realising the potential is huge. Experts say India will have to grow at the rate of 9% or more per annum consistently for the next 20 years to reach China’s current per capita GDP which stands at $8,500 as compared to India’s current GDP per capita of $1,800.
This clearly shows the immense potential that exists for skilled talent in the country. A combination of apt policies, timely investment, choice of right sectors, development of human capital through imaginative frameworks and industry-led new formats of collaboration with various stakeholders would translate the potential into real outcomes.
The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company