Written By Ms Vandana Shejwal ( Group CHRO, Capital India Finance )
India’s unemployment rate was 6.52 % in March’21 which was a slight decline from 6.9 per cent in February 2021 and 6.53 per cent in Jan’21, according to the latest data released by a private think-tank, Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE). The data showed that the unemployment rate in urban areas declined despite a rise in the joblessness rate on a national level. The rural areas, however, saw a surge in unemployment during the month under review. The urban unemployment rate dropped to 6.99 in February 2021 from 8.08 in January 2021, while the rural unemployment rate rose to 6.86 per cent from 5.83 per cent during the same period.*
Isn’t this scary and challenging? But if we have assessed the situation well and have been proactive, this is not all that problematic.
The covid situation in the last one year has thrown huge challenges to economies, societies and people all over the world. This in consequence has brought about a sea change in the skills landscape, the way the jobs are viewed and productivity vs. cost parameters. In the last year, we have been hearing the words like digitization, innovation, reskilling, upskilling, sustainability, agile workforce, resilience like never before. The questions we have to ask ourselves now are: Have we prepared ourselves for these changes in the last few months? Have we learnt from the situation? Are we future-ready?
As both employees and organizations we have to now think, where do we stand in this situation? The organization needs to make optimum utilization of the skills available by creating a skills inventory and the employees need to do their own self-assessment in terms of what are their skills and their relevance in the current times. The organizations have already started taking stock of the current skills Vs future requirements. The non-traditional jobs and skills will be more important than ever before. People will stop indulging in the rat race of going for only popular careers. The concept of employability will take more prominence over employment.
Some of the key trends that we already see are as follows:
- Every day some survey or research throws out a list of hot skills/jobs that will trend in future. It is important not only for freshers/college/B-school graduates to keep track of it but even the experienced people need to check where they stand vis-à-vis the new skills required in the market. SWOT analysis of self from time to time will not only avoid any surprises but will prepare themselves to adapt to changes and make them future-ready. What is relevant today and in demand may not be relevant tomorrow and hence people will need to keep track of the latest in the talent space, keep updating their knowledge and upgrade themselves with newer skills
- There is no such thing as free lunch. Anyone who gets paid will need to justify every penny that they get. The Compensation structures will undergo huge changes for paying for performance. The trend had already started towards more variable and less fixed pay a few years ago. Now the percentage will tilt all the more towards variable. Not only ESOPs but Performance Shares would be the thing of the future.
- Contractual Vs permanent jobs – Organizations more than ever before will decide whether it wants to Buy or Build talent. Because of the uncertain situation, organizations don’t want to add permanent costs to their books. We are already used to the contractual employment of blue-collared / feet on street (sales) employees but now we hear about contractual CXOs who come and do their work on a project basis. Lifetime employment and retiring from the organization is a thing of the past. More and more people will work on an assignment/project/contractual basis and it will no longer be taboo not to have a permanent job
- Digital and innovation is the way to go – everything digital and digital everywhere would be the new mantra. Digital is the buzzword right now. We not only see more and more digital payments happening but also see all activities pertaining to the entire life-cycle of employees getting automated. Differentiation in the products and services offered by organizations will help them survive the tough competition. People who can think out of the box and help differentiate the products and services will have a lot of demand. A lot of jobs being created in this space and more will be created in future as more and more organizations go digital.
- Soft Skills of the future – it would no longer be enough to work hard, add qualifications or experience to your profile. Certain soft skills like adaptability, flexibility, emotional intelligence, coaching skills including listening and teamwork would be non-negotiable not only for employees but even for leaders/managers.
There is a lot of effort taken up by the government is doing for skilling. Skill India Movement and National Skill Development Corporation and their initiatives are few steps in this direction. In a country like India with a huge population, it’s going to be a mammoth task to skill the entire population. It is not going to be possible without a public-private partnership. Industry – Government collaboration can make it possible. It is important that we make the general public aware of the courses offered under various skilling initiatives by state and central governments. This is not easy and will take few years for the entire population to be covered or get skilled.
We don’t know if this Covid situation is here to stay or will go away in near future. It is not enough to have savings for few months. But looking at the current layoffs/unemployment rates, it would be wiser to have as many savings as possible and live a minimalistic life.
We already see lots changing on the ground as far as the business world is concerned. Are you ready for the challenge? Are you future-ready?
* source – Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE)