Democratising skills for a sustainable future workforce

Job markets worldwide have become increasingly competitive as the business landscape continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. One of the major challenges that organisations globally are facing today is the shortage of talent. According to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey, India ranked 7th among nations facing a talent shortage, with 81% of employers reporting a challenge in finding skilled employees. The lack of relevant skills hinders business and economic growth and prevents individuals from realising their full potential.

As technology advances rapidly and organisational requirements evolve alongside it, employers must rethink their standard approach of limiting their focus to solely using educational qualifications as a parameter. This is evidenced in recent surveys where a significant percentage of HR professionals expressed a preference for skills over experience, academics, or references. Students also echo the same sentiment. A degree-focused approach creates a scarcity of talent by excluding those who may not have high educational qualifications but possess the required skill sets that can be extremely valuable in the workplace.

So, how can we switch to a skills-first approach that encourages individuals, especially students and recent graduates, to focus on expanding their skill sets alongside gaining formal qualifications? The answer lies in democratising skills to ensure sustainable growth at the workplace for the upcoming workforce. In this article, we explore how it can be done.

Bridging the skill gap with micro-credentials

Micro-credentials, byte-sized learning modules, are key to making skills accessible in a geographically diverse country like India. These can be delivered online in local languages, catering to a wide audience and enabling individuals to acquire relevant skills. They offer a flexible and cost-effective way to upskill and reskill, helping individuals stay competitive in the rapidly changing job market. Additionally, students are increasingly choosing to upskill through online courses, live projects, guest lectures, and internships, all of which provide plenty of opportunities to network, learn, and grow.

Enabling personalised learning with AI

Leveraging AI for personalised learning experiences can be a game-changer. By 2025, a significant percentage of learning and development professionals are expected to use AI for this purpose. This approach can be particularly beneficial for young talent, catering to their diverse learning styles and career aspirations.

Mentorship for knowledge transfer

Everyone requires a mentor, whether at the workplace or otherwise, as having a good mentor can help individuals look at things from a different perspective, learn quickly, and grow both professionally and personally. Increasingly, students and new professionals are volunteering as mentors, providing peers with an opportunity to engage with individuals of similar age and background, fostering valuable dialogue and support within the academic or professional community.

Gamified learning for growth

Gamified learning, which incorporates game mechanics into learning platforms, can help develop a growth mindset among young individuals. This approach encourages them to view challenges as opportunities for skill development, fostering a positive attitude towards learning. By making learning engaging and interactive, gamified learning can enhance motivation and retention, leading to more effective skill acquisition and application in real-world scenarios.

National skill development framework

Today, there is a growing need for national skills development frameworks. Partnering with governments to create centralised frameworks focused on future-proofing careers for the young workforce can ensure they are equipped with the right skills for the future. Such frameworks can align industry requirements with educational programmes, bridging the gap between academia and industry and promoting holistic skill development.

Soft skills alongside technical expertise

Apart from technical skills, soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity are crucial for future success. Equipping young talent with both technical and soft skills, including communication and teamwork, will be essential for their professional growth. Surveys have shown that the top future skills HR professionals think students should focus on include cross-collaboration, data literacy, and digital communication skills.

Fostering a lifelong learning culture

Fostering a culture of lifelong learning within companies is essential. Skill development should be seen as a continuous pursuit, not just a job requirement, preparing young talent for a dynamic future where learning is a lifelong journey.


By leveraging innovative approaches such as the above-mentioned, we can equip the youth with the skills needed to thrive in the future job market. This holistic approach not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall economic development of the country.

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