The Geography of Social Inclusion in Corporate Jobs
The world is changing, with the internet of things, zoom meetings, you name it. But the academic curriculum remains conventional in its coverage of knowledge. This issue is most evident in rural areas. Coupled with the failure of the labour market to offer job opportunities in remote areas, education is limiting the capability of rural communities to get corporate jobs.
Emerging technologies and disruptive forces such as artificial intelligence, the gig economy, and automation are rapidly transforming the nature of work in the corporate or service sector. The precise impact of these and other developments is unknown, but one thing is clear; the capabilities of a candidate that employers value and rely on are transforming. As a result, a "skills gap" or "employability gap" has emerged, and firms are struggling to find suitably trained employees while candidates are unable to land a job in the corporate world.
A corporate sector is a demanding place, and it is often challenging to secure employment opportunities. Of course, education plays a significant role in your employability, so investing in it makes sense, but it is not the only factor that makes you employable. Individuals need a diverse skill set to bag corporate jobs. Sadly, many small towns and villages lack the access and resources required to be a part of the corporate world.
What needs to be pursued in relation to the geographical disparity of opportunities in corporate jobs is social inclusion – a condition where each individual plays an active role in their rights and obligations. People's active engagement in their educational, economic, and social life is facilitated or enabled in a socially inclusive environment, equipped with systems that accommodate diversity. How many of us are aware that the urban-rural divide is hurting the skill sets of every potent individual? Since there is limited access to the latest technologies and advancements in rural India, the rural youth remain unemployed.
In rural India, the prevalence of vocational training is extraordinarily low: 93.7 percent of youngsters (2017–18) have had no vocational training. As a result, skill development is hampered by a scarcity of qualified trainers, deficiencies in training programs, and high dropout rates. In addition, the majority of training institutes are located in nearby small towns, making them inaccessible to most people, particularly women, due to a lack of public transportation.
India's Employability and Skill Gaps
Social inclusion in corporate jobs in India will only ever be a success if companies can provide seamless access to job opportunities in semi-urban and rural regions. According to a Global Skills Gap Report, 92% of working people think there is a skill gap in India. Though it was just 5.33% in 2018, the unemployment rate in India rose to 7.11% in 2020. It implies that workers who enter the labor market in search of work cannot find it in sufficient quantities.
The population of youngsters in India has increased from 1 billion to 1.3 billion from 1999 to 2019. However, the labor force for the same age group during the same period has seen a decline from 568 million to 497 million. While some of the blame may get laid at the feet of the formal education system, the labor market's development is also responsible. Due to geographic restrictions and financial hardship, hundreds of thousands of children drop out of school or do not continue their education in rural regions. As a result, it eliminates them as potential job applicants for all but the most basic and menial positions. These positions include a junior accountant, a tele-caller, or even a salesperson. These positions demand basic computer knowledge, accounting knowledge, or good public speaking skills.
The service or corporate sector has allowed India's economy to expand, one of India's top GDP contributors. However, due to a shortage of future skills, about 53% of Indian businesses could not hire individuals in 2019. The service industry is nearly entirely reliant on skilled labor, and as the convergence of business and technology proceeds, most employers will be redefined to be knowledge-based. However, while more and more future skills-oriented occupations are developed, there is an increase in the employability gap in numerous industries. These industries include not just IT/ITES but also conventional industries, including banking and financial services, automotive, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, telecommunications, and logistics.
According to the ILO, due to the skill gap across several industries, more than half of the job positions that required future skills remained unfilled in 2019. While India's economy has excellent growth potential, the rising talent gap is a significant impediment to its development. Upskilling is essential across all job profiles and industries in today's fast-changing economic climate. However, India is hampered by a skills deficit and a failing higher education system. Although some people have intrinsic abilities that help them learn complex skills, whether through formal courses or informally, most people know these skills through some form of instructional or educational courses like the ones undertaken. However, the skills we learn in our formal education are often not good enough to meet the corporate world's demands. Therefore, it is now more critical than ever to change higher education and develop a new model that aligns with industrial needs better. Higher education curriculum should get modified to incorporate experience-based, real-world learning to achieve this. It is also important to accept new teaching techniques and approaches.
India is now at a crossroads because of population expansion. Citizens, government, business, and academics must all work together to close the skills gap and move toward a brighter future. Businesses and corporate houses are anticipated to jump on board and engage in successful programs as the government deliberately builds a competent workforce and prioritizes skill development efforts. But we all must remember that the purpose of employment programs is not to monetise human beings but rather to contribute towards their empowerment by giving them access to the right job opportunities.
Robin Bhowmik is Chief Business Officer at Manipal Global Education Services with 25 years of global experience in Enterprise B2B spanning North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, India, and Japan. He is an alumnus of UC Berkeley and Calcutta University.
This article is featured in JUSTIN Development Review (JDR) Vol. 01 Issue 02 — September 2021