A Skillset or Workplace Training? Who can cement this bridge?

A recent study by IBM on the global workforce found that half of the organizations lack skill development strategies, which can have a serious repercussion on the economy at large.

Companies tend to scale back on pipeline and workforce training, safeguarding their cash positions due to the impending vision of a global economic downturn and risks caused by the ongoing pandemic. However, this route tends to be erroneous and must be avoided in all circumstances.

According to employer surveys, there has been a 5% decline from 2017 to 2019 in the labor statistics. Corporate spending in North America had been increasing incrementally since 2015, only to drop by 2% in 2020 to $165.3 billion.

Only 27% of companies provided authentic placements to students in 2019, as per the employer survey, which is lower than 30% in 2016. Such insights regarding on-the-job training tell us how much more industry effort we need, to ensure the growth and success of the organization.

As per the current statistics, the average workforce training spends in the UK has been sluggish for the last few years. It is time that companies involved in designing the curriculum by providing hands-on experience through internship and prepare a ground for practical application of knowledge, which ensures the employees are ready to hit the ground running. This will not only ensure that students understand the concepts and theory part well but also keeps them engaged and keener towards studies.

Students being less engaged in extracurricular activities during college life can also lead to a lack of the required skill set. This is driven by today’s generation of digital natives, whose connections and every activity is influenced by a social platform. For instance, they prefer joining an app or online community instead of a club or sports team. It proves that a mere degree cannot be a proxy for punctuality, collaboration, leadership, brainstorming and attitude towards achieving organizational goals.

It is a common saying that goes among the employers regarding graduates who lack optimum technical skills. Thus, the unanimous enterprise slogan of the last decade has been, “We need to fix the skill gap.” This was one of the biggest menaces to national economic prosperity before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Instead of disparaging, this issue has been intensifying during the ongoing crisis. The reality is many technical certifications can’t match the rapid pace of technological challenges encountered by all companies, resulting in outdated skills by the time they graduate. Over 84% of skill dearth vacancies take place due to the absence of technical or practical skills, as per the National Employer Survey by U.K. Education Department conducted in 2019, which boils down to a deficiency of specialist knowledge and skills needed to perform the designated role. Problem-solving, the ability to deal with complex and ambiguous cases, critical thinking, communication, and innovation, as well as creativity, are some of the crucial soft skills required for any employment but missing among the young graduates.

Universities and all educational institutes have to work more on an industry-driven approach in terms of the course, which should be backed by the employers to help build a talent pool with the right skill set for today’s business needs. Institutions should overcome the challenge of developing vital interpersonal skills and knowledge application instead of just maintaining academic rigor with the right training approach.

A firm needs to ascertain that a new recruit whether from a reputed institute or not is to be set on ongoing training to keep the work going at a fast pace with great enthusiasm.  An alliance of government, industries, and education providers can help arrive at the right solution which adheres to a strong foundation.

However, the panacea lies with the employers who can provide the necessary training to the laborers that our nation needs. Merely blaming the educational system doesn’t ensure that we can do away with a dearth of skills; rather companies should call the shots to develop a powerful work culture that steers a competitive economy. They need to bridge the training gap by wearing more than one hat, enabling economies to thrive.