The National Skill Development Council is planning an assessment platform to test the skills of youth and recommend jobs they are qualified for.

Unemployment has been one of the biggest challenges plaguing the global economy. Closer home, going by statistics, a staggering 13.3 per cent of India’s population in the age group of 15-29 years are unemployed. Yet, as our unemployment figures continue to rise, almost every industry, be it manufacturing, technology, hospitality or corporate, is facing a shortage of skilled workforce. The real problem, as research clearly suggests, is finding suitable candidates to fill jobs.

Being unemployed and unemployable are two different issues. Being unemployable means that a job-seeker does not possess the prerequisite soft skills and qualities that a specific job demands, inspite of being technically proficient.

Recent reports also indicate that as many as 47 per cent of Indian graduates are not qualified for any industry job. Adding fuel to fire, surveys by various agencies reveal that more than 70 per cent of our engineering graduates are not employable. The distressing news is that the problem of employability in India is rampant in both blue and white-collar jobs. So what are the contributing factors to this disparity? Societal inequalities, inadequate education infrastructure, quality of education and lack of effective assessment of skills are some of the reasons why a majority of working class personnel in our country are not qualified for the jobs that they aspire for.What is required?One of the main problems lies in our system of imparting education and the subsequent assessment of additional soft skills and capabilities needed to survive in today’s competitive work atmosphere. Graduates often complain that they were not exposed to life skills training or internship opportunities during their graduation years, which would have prepared them for the real workplace scenario.

In order to create employment opportunities for blue-collar jobs, to begin with, the National Skill Development Council (NSDC) will target 25 million youth for training in various skill-based jobs over the next 10 years. However, in order to scale the assessment of these candidates so that they are ready for placements immediately after training, they will have to take up online exams to qualify for the blue-collar jobs, similar to assessments conducted in the corporate world. Assessment players have been roped in by NSDC to create an assessment platform which will test the skills of these candidates and recommend the jobs that they are qualified for.TransparencyDeploying online assessment tools for skill certification has great efficacy. With a huge potential of job-seekers awaiting skill assessment, online assessments solve the issue of time by reaching out to more candidates in less time and reducing the time taken to complete the assessment process. Besides this advantage, online proctoring when compared to manual proctoring increases the transparency levels of assessments, and above all, increases the scalability of assessments.

Recent innovations in online assessments provide effective entry and exit level competency mapping, cloud and mobile-based assessment solutions and remote test management, through which one can easily and effectively test the candidates’ approach to problem-solving, logical reasoning, language comprehension, general knowledge and data interpretation and essential life skills. Before the problem of unemployability spins out of control, leaving the future of Indian graduates bleak, how can we bridge this wide gap between the demand and availability of employable skills?

The crucial question we first need to ask is whether we are unemployed or unemployable? Are there enough jobs or do we really possess the right skills and qualifications for the jobs available? The solution lies not only in ensuring the balance between the two but also in measuring the employability skills efficiently.

The writer is co-founder and CEO, Mettl.