8 Popular Trends Driving the Skill-Based Economy in India

8 Popular Trends Driving the Skill-Based Economy in India | Career | Emeritus

“Jobs have been the organizing unit for careers for a long time. However, in the future, careers will be organized based on skills,” explained David Blake, the founder of Degreed, in his speech at the ASU+GSV & Emeritus Summit. Blake also emphasized that the skills gap is increasing globally and will only get bigger with every passing day. This is primarily because the “digital and technological transformation rate is much higher than the rate at which humans can learn”. Therefore, organizations in India and other countries are shifting to skill-based hiring over academic hiring. 

According to the India LinkedIn Future of Recruiting Report 2023, 75% of recruiting experts state that skill-based hiring will be their top priority in the future. India is evolving as a skill-based economy, and professionals should know it to build promising careers. This blog discusses the current landscape of India’s skill-based economy and the latest skill-based hiring trends. 

Skill is being defined as the currency for the future. In fact, the majority of the Indian workforce acknowledges the need to upskill. According to a PwC Workplace Hopes and Fears report, 62% of Indian employees know that skill-set requirements will change in the future. Moreover, 69% of such employees are also aware of how these requirements will change. As a matter of fact, 53% of Indian professionals prefer to do secondary jobs to learn new skills. Let’s see some of the most popular skill-based hiring trends in India. 

1. Increasing Focus on Soft Skills

Careers and job descriptions are evolving rapidly. In a skill-based economy, roles that exist today might become obsolete in the next few years. Hence, organizations prefer candidates who can easily adapt to changing trends, take ownership, and assist the organization in navigating challenges. Therefore, the demand for soft skills is increasing. 

According to India LinkedIn Future of Recruiting Report 2023, the most in-demand soft skills are communication, relationship building, business acumen, and data analysis. Moreover, a report by the Economic Impact on the skills gap in the Asia-Pacific region states that self-management, adaptability, and learning agility are the most crucial soft skills during economic uncertainty and that employers are more likely to promote candidates with exceptional soft skills.

2. Growth of Secondary Jobs

The idea of passive income or building at least two income streams has gained immense popularity in the last few years. Therefore, many professionals have one or more secondary jobs in addition to their full-time roles. Another reason for the growth of secondary jobs could be fear of job uncertainty due to mass firing by many organizations. However, one of the most significant reasons is to learn new skills. In fact, the PwC report of Workforce Hopes and Fears reveals that 53% of surveyed Indian professionals cite skill development as the top reason for pursuing secondary jobs in a skill-based economy.  

3. Increase in Demand for Digital and Green Skills

The PwC report also highlights the high popularity of digital and green skills in India: 79% of Indian employees believe digital skills will be necessary in the next five years. Moreover, according to a report by the Skill Council for Green Jobs, India has set a solid foundation to become a global leader in green growth. This will result in 35 million green jobs by 2047 and strengthen the skill-based economy. 

The report also highlights that most green jobs in this fast-emerging skills economy will be available in renewable energy, waste management, green construction, and sustainable textiles. However, building an efficient green workforce requires a robust and scalable skill infrastructure. This indicates the high demand for green skills in a skill-based economy.

ALSO READ: What is Skill-Based Pay? 4 Key Advantages and Drawbacks

4. Upskilling Initiatives by Employers

Along with individual investment in upskilling and reskilling, organizations are also increasing their investments in the learning and development of employees because the modern workforce seeks value at work. The LinkedIn report states that 51% of Indian candidates prioritize opportunities to learn new skills. Moreover, 91% of recruiters believe that upskilling and reskilling employees are crucial to bridging organizations’ skill gaps. Upskilling initiatives also promote diversity and inclusion within the organization. This indicates that the majority of jobs will be skill-based in the future.

5. Skills-First Culture in Organizations

Skill-based hiring is one of the top priorities for organizations. Many companies are making skills the core element of talent strategies. According to the LinkedIn report, 86% of companies assess employees’ skills to understand what skills are lacking within the organization and make informed decisions.

6. The Need for a Holistic Skill Set

According to a report by Fortune India, most sectors now demand a similar skill set. Therefore, specific job descriptions or talent specifications are getting blurred. For example, data analytics skills are needed in tech, consumer industry, supply chain, health care, and other industries. Therefore, professionals can focus on building a holistic skill set for better adaptability across different roles.

ALSO READ: How to Upskill and Reskill: A Guide to the Top 5 Strategies

7. Upskilling for Gig Workers

Upskilling is relevant not only for employees but also for gig workers. The rise of the gig economy is also a key factor driving the skill-based economy in India. According to a report by Karma Life, entry-level skills and low investment in upskilling or reskilling are one of the major reasons for the slow career development of gig workers. However, many ambitious gig workers are trying to learn skills on the job. The most common ones are communication, computer and technical abilities, managerial skills, and financial literacy. Learning these skills helps gig workers build a resilient business and get well-paying opportunities.

8. Key Sectors in India Hiring for Skill-Based Jobs

While many industries, such as health care and legal, necessarily look at academic qualifications over skills, many sectors offer skill-based jobs in a skills economy. The highest demand for skilled talent in India is in IT, construction, automobile, fintech, agritech, and supply chain and logistics sectors.

ALSO READ: The Most Efficient Strategies for Lifelong Learning: Top 5 Tips and Benefits

How to Grow Your Career in a Skill-Based Economy?

Growing in a skill-based economy requires continuous upskilling to bridge individual skill gaps and get a competitive edge. While gaining a broad skill set is crucial, it is equally important for professionals to focus on some core skills related to their domain and expertise. This helps them move ahead in their career. Blake explained a three-step process for growing in an organization—research comprehensive data for skill requirements in an organization, move up the pyramid, and make the data actionable. 

Here are some of the best ways to build a future-proof career in a skills economy.

1. Pursue Skill-Based Courses

In a skill-based economy, organizations prefer skills and technical know-how over academic credentials and work experience. Therefore, the demand for skill-based courses is growing. These are short courses for a term between six months to one year. The curriculums are designed to help professionals achieve their learning goals. Many skill-based courses are provided in collaboration with leading educational institutions and taught by industry experts. Such courses help professionals acquire relevant skills, learn insights into the latest market and job trends, and gain practical experience. Moreover, these courses offer mentorship and career guidance to learners.

2. Take up  Internships/Apprenticeships or Volunteering Gigs

Another excellent way to gain skills, especially as a fresher or a college student, is to pursue internships or volunteer with startups, tech giants, boutique firms, government organizations, or non-profit organizations. Such experiences help you gain practical experience, learn skills on the go, and understand how to use various tools, strategies, or frameworks. Moreover, internships and volunteer-ships provide a great networking opportunity, which can further benefit your career.  

3. Create a Portfolio

With academic credentials and work experience gradually losing importance, organizations demand portfolios to assess candidates’ skills and knowledge. A portfolio can be in the form of a website or presentation showcasing your best work or projects. It helps organizations evaluate your expertise and skills, thus increasing hiring chances. Tech professionals can build their projects on GitHub or other open-source platforms. Designers can create an online portfolio on websites such as Wix or Behance by adding links to relevant work. Moreover, you can add brief case studies or research projects to your portfolio.

ALSO READ: What are the Top 10 Areas to Upskill in 2024? Hiring Managers Tell Us

Upskill With Emeritus

Even though many Indian organizations still ask for academic qualifications and educational background, many have switched to skill-based hiring/assessment. Others will have to eventually follow through to acquire and retain quality talent and gain a competitive advantage. Moreover, with the looming threat of AI replacing jobs, professionals are also investing in upskilling and reskilling, especially through online courses. You can also learn relevant skills and advance your career by pursuing Emeritus’ online learning courses.

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

About the Author

Content Writer, Emeritus Blog
Sneha is a content marketing professional with over four years of experience in helping brands achieve their marketing goals. She crafts research-based, engaging content, making sure to showcase a bit of her creative side in every piece she writes. Sneha spends most of her time writing, reading, or drinking coffee. You will often find her practicing headstands or inversions to clear her mind.
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