Skills Gap: How can Companies can Help
In the recent times there have been quite a few discussions on the skills gap in the country and how it is impacting the overall growth. There are quite a few solutions that are being discussed, but it is the responsibility of companies to start pushing the bar higher. Why and how? Let’s discuss…
It was a chilly morning in Virginia and I am scheduled to meet with a potential customer for our technology services. On the way I came across a coffee shop and felt I needed a jolt to wake me up. While I was paying for the coﬀee I realized it was a chip-based card reader and inserted the card instead of swiping. The barista had a smile and said “Wow. We just got these devices and how many people would know that you have to insert the card? You guys in India are really smart. Just see the technology talent that is produced from your country”. Well, I didn’t need coﬀee in case anymore, I was energized and pumped up to meet the customer now.
Why wouldn’t you after hearing such nice words about you and the country? I walked out with a smile, took the elevator, waited, greeted and finally met with the director representing the customer in a conference room. I started with my sales pitch and towards the end he said “Well, I understand what you say but, we did not have great experiences working with technology companies in India”. He started explaining all the various difficulties they had and how the delivered work lacked technology expertise. This was a stark remark in comparison with what I experienced half an hour ago.
As a country we produce around 1 to 1.5 million engineers every year. Even with so much talent, there is a big void in the
Companies can help close the skills gap by providing eﬃcient training to the workforce and change the attitude that only work of higher quality is acceptable
It is not the fault of the governments or the bureaucrats to invite others to solve our problems. It is the lack of trust that the solution can be developed indigenously. Our workforce can get things done, probably faster than anyone can, but the quality and attention to detail lacks in the delivered product. Because of this we are unable to complete globally in most of the areas. Our workforce needs to be inspired and skilled better. All the initiatives are focussing on skilling unemployed youth so that they can work, but they don't focus on creating workforce for to be qualified globally.
Companies can help close the skills gap by providing eﬃcient training to the workforce and change the attitude that only work of higher quality is acceptable. This will enable employees to fill skill gaps and deliver better. We can be trained and people can adapt to changes quickly. But it has to be directed towards the goal and ample training is to be provided. This will have eﬀect and ripple other companies will follow suit.
Products of higher quality attract global customers thereby increasing demand. This will position the companies to compete globally and start attaining global standards. Educational institutions will now be required to change their curriculum to meet the standards of the companies for better placements.
While this all sounds like a good fantasy dream, we can see some examples around us. Entertainment industry has recently witnessed a blockbuster which pushed the boundaries of Indian cinema to great lengths. This happened only because of great attention to detail and grand vision. Similarly, our space program has witnessed quite a few achievements lately and is proving exemplary to many countries.
Examples like this can be found, but are sporadic. For us to make big impact in the global arena and to compete at global standards, every company needs to push their standards higher and inspire their teams to achieve the goals.
Bill Gates in his recent visit to India said "My biggest disappointment is the education system. I do want to create higher expectations about it". While it is of concern to the wealthiest man in the world, it should be of greater concern to all of us, the biggest population in the world.