A textbook wedged between office files

Illustration: Sebastian Francis

Illustration: Sebastian Francis  


You must be familiar with the image of a student burning the midnight oil over an upcoming examination. Can you picture a working professional pacing the floor of his living room and poring over a textbook?

Here’s a prediction for the future: Being employed will partly be contingent on taking exams successfully, and regularly. In a world ruled by technology, processes are changing constantly and so are the skills required to execute them. Moreover, employment in the future will become more project-based and workforces more fluid, making it necessary for professionals to get a certification from time to time.

In fact, this is hardly futuristic. Already, many organisations, especially those in the IT sector, require their employees to sit in classes that will bring them up-to-date with developments in their fields of specialisation.

Over the last two-and-a-half years, 28-year-old Suryanarayana Reddy, a software engineer with Tata Consultancy Services, has received five certifications in the technical areas of his work. “Two external and three internal certifications,” says Reddy. These include certifications in Big Data and Oracle. According to Reddy, two months ago, his company issued a circular asking all employees to take up some “digital” course.

“Every quarter, we are required to inform our manager about the course we plan to pursue,” he says, adding that the course fee is reimbursed if an examination is cleared.

Increasing investment

A recent study by on hiring and compensation trends said that 58% of the companies it surveyed planned to spend up to 10% of their HR budgets on skill development and training of their existing employees.

Ramabhadran A.P., CEO of Manipal ProLearn, an arm of Manipal Global Education Services, says: “Eighty percent of the onus to seek learning opportunities lies with the employee and not the organisation.”

It is in their own interests that employees have to bring their skill sets up to date, irrespective of whether the company promotes such moves or not. For, in the work environment of the future, those who don’t learn new skills may not be in circulation for long. Ramabhadran says that the new test for all middle-level employees is not just about picking up “functional skills” but about displaying an impressive learnability quotient (LQ).

LQ, he explains, is also about the ability to adapt oneself to emerging situations and challenges in the profession. It is also about the willingness to make learning a lifelong pursuit.

On the necessity of upskilling, he says many staffing companies are doing great business because they identify talents that the organisation requires but does not have.

“This is increasingly seen in many companies,” he says. “Companies don’t want to invest time and money in training internal people, even when the existing talent pool looks good.”

In this scenario, employees have to take the lead, for upskilling themselves will open up new avenues in their profession.

The hall ticket

Going by the rush at special examinations that are aimed at providing working professionals with certifications in their professions, a culture of constant learning seems to have settled in comfortably.

The Indian Institute of Banking and Finance (IIB&F) will soon be conducting examinations for its flagship programmes. The number of bankers that are going to take these exams is impressive.

For example, over 1.4 lakh bankers are expected to appear for the Junior Associate of Indian Institute of Banking (JAIIB) exam, offered by IIB&F, in May. Another 65,000 will take up the Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Banking exam. Working professionals are among those moving to the next rounds in Common Admission Test (CAT): These are professionals who want to take a break from work to study at any of the top B-Schools.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 11:24:21 AM |

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