Shortage of skilled labour is common across the world. A google search using the words “skilled labour shortage” followed by the name of a random country is likely to throw up thousands of search results.
According to the Hays Global Skills Index 2016, one of the main reasons for the skill shortage across the globe is the chasm between academia and industry. Given the speed at which technology is evolving, the inability of the education system to cope with the rapidly transforming requirements of the industry is likely to worsen. However, the following measures can help address the gap:
- Industry-academia collaboration: The academic curricula of the universities need to be regularly updated to keep them relevant to the industry. To this end, businesses can collaborate with universities in designing the syllabus.
Additionally, businesses can provide students extracurricular support. For instances, guest speakers with industry expertise can be called periodically to share practical insights with students. The interaction can be taken further by assigning students mentors from the industry. Fortunately, potential employers have already begun to play a proactive role in this regard.
- Updating skills of faculty: It is not the students alone, but even the educators whose knowledge and skills need to be periodically updated to ensure that they are better placed to impart their students the knowledge and skills relevant to the industry. This could be achieved through a combination of training programs and interaction with industry experts.
- Employee Training: Another possible way for employers to get around the limitations of the academic systems is through training, be it in-house or using the services of an external service provider. Candidates with potential can be recruited and then given the necessary training to make them industry-ready. This would be particularly relevant in developing countries, where the shortage of skills is usually dire due to inadequate or outdated education infrastructure.
Employers have already started working in this direction, at least in developed countries. The idea is still at a nascent stage, but the results so far are encouraging, and it is likely that this will be the way forward for the industry to bridge the skill gap.
- Upskilling through alternate education: Due to the speed at which technology is evolving, the employability challenge persists even after getting employees work ready, since their existing skills may become irrelevant. Fortunately, upskilling existing employees does not require a significant investment in terms of time or money and good quality courses are easily available. For example, Apache Spark and Scala Training require just over thirty hours at no extraordinary cost.
- Workplace Exposure: Internships are an integral part of most management courses globally. In addition, students can be required to undertake part-time projects with companies. This will give them insights into the skills relevant to the industry as well as the ‘soft’ skills required at workplace. From the point of view of the industry, it can help identify potential employees and groom them so that they are ready to be employed by the time they graduate from university.