66% employers looking for different skills than three years ago , says study

March 27, 2019 10:50 pm | Updated March 28, 2019 12:14 am IST - New Delhi

Photo: Twitter/@ilo

Photo: Twitter/@ilo

Fast-changing job requirements are leading to a yawning skills gap in many parts of the world, with India being one of the hardest-hit, according to a new study released by the International Labour Organisation in collaboration with the International Organisation of Employers on Wednesday.

According to the report, 66% of Indian businesses say they are looking for quite different skills in new recruits than they were three years ago, with 53% saying it is becoming harder to recruit people with the needed skills. Globally, 60% of employers say new graduates are not adequately prepared for current work.

Arguing that skills are the currency of the modern workplace, the report cites studies which estimate that “by 2020 there may be a global shortage of 38-40 million highly skilled workers…At the same time, the global labour market will experience a potential surplus of 90-95 million low skilled workers, with these imbalances potentially adversely affecting developed and developing economies alike.” Employers and businesses are increasingly encountering challenges in locating, hiring and retaining talent, says the report.

India is one of the countries where these challenges are most acute. Of the nations covered in the survey, only South Africa and Morocco had a higher percentage of businesses than India which say they are looking for different skills in new hires than they were just three years ago.

Most businesses seem to blame this situation on education systems which are “poorly equipped to adapt to changes in the workplace, whether due to inaction in policy, a lack of funding, lack of coordination with the private sector or other factors.”

About 78% executives say that updating education curriculum to match the economy’s needs would provide them with the skilled employees they need, and 72% want businesses to play a more active role in influencing such curriculum.

Another emerging challenge is the rise of automation. Again, India is one of the hotspots of this trend, with 51.8% of current work activities that could be automated simply by adapting current technology.

Informal jobs, typified by low productivity, face the largest threats due to this trend. In developing countries, job loss due to automation may also happen indirectly, says the report.

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