Are you upskilling yourself to face the 4th Industrial Revolution?

Are you upskilling yourself to face the 4th Industrial Revolution?
Highlights

Ten years from now, over onethird of the skills considered necessary in todays workforce will become irrelevant In the next three years, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to make Advanced Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Biotechnology and Genomics a part of the mainstream in industry These advancements will transform our daily lives and work

Ten years from now, over one-third of the skills considered necessary in today’s workforce will become irrelevant. In the next three years, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is set to make Advanced Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Biotechnology and Genomics a part of the mainstream in industry. These advancements will transform our daily lives and work.

While some jobs will disappear, many others will emerge. Amidst this shift in the skills expected in the workforce, only certainty is that the prospective employee and the already existing ones will need to align their skill-sets to keep pace with the ever-changing market demands.

However, the change in the nature of the skillsets needed varies from industry to industry. For instance, the media and entertainment sector has undergone innumerable changes during the last few years. The finance and banking sector too has been radically transformed through the usage of technology, and similar has been the case in sales and manufacturing too.

Nasscom has identified 56 job roles and eight disruptive technologies that are expected to facilitate job creation over the next 10 years. Some of these are Big Data Analytics, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Automation and Internet of Things, to name a few and prospective employees will have the dire need to skill themselves to fit these jobs roles.

To survive in this rapidly-changing demands of the market, the government bodies, educators and business leaders need to be proactive in adopting the changes as well as upskill themselves to stay relevant in the game. Upskilling is not only important to keep up with the competition, but also retrain people to help them become beneficiaries of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The paradigm shifts in the jobs and skill requirements we are currently witnessing will create new opportunities in the future. However, as the nature of jobs is changing, the transition period will be a testing time for both organizations and employees.

As we have already noticed, jobs that are repetitive in nature, and those that do not require higher levels of skills will be automated, and alternative jobs will see an upswing. A report by the European Commission on ‘Upskilling European Industry’ stated that by 2025, 50 per cent of the jobs will be the high-skill ones. This data affirms the necessity to upskill manpower.

A survey by the World Economic Forum showed that by 2026 we could have machines and robots crafted by artificial intelligence being a part of companies’ board of directors. Acknowledging and adopting the new technologies is the first step towards the change. The employees must acknowledge the series of changes that industry is undergoing and start upgrading themselves to meet the requirements.

Employees will need to be well-versed with the upcoming changes that could transform the job market, and should also be aware of the employer needs and expectations of a candidate. Students must identify their interests and enhance their skills accordingly to be able to meet employer requirements. Taking up skill enhancement programs will not only assess the students for their skills to meet market standards, but also map their interests and help them improve their skills based on their interests.

Freshers have to be well-versed with future skills and industry trends to ace the hiring game and sustain their careers. It is also crucial for the mid-level employees to stay updated as they are an important link in the organizational pyramid and are an extremely crucial part in today’s business world. From hand-holding the young workforce, to decision and policy-making, mid-level employees act as a fulcrum that balances the organizational loads. The trajectory of their career is rapidly evolving with the upcoming technologies and increasing pressures faced by organizations.

The increasing pay scale of mid-level employees is leading to a bulge in the centre of the organizational pyramid. Moreover, the knowledge gap in mid-level employees with respect to the latest technologies are posing a huge challenge for organizations. When technology disrupts an ecosystem, upskilling is mandatory. However, bearing the cost of upskilling the existing employees can be an expensive affair for the small and medium scale companies.

The cost-effective solution in this scenario is to hire freshers who are already equipped with new skills rather than training the existing workforce. Hence, to sustain in the competitive world and stay relevant in the age of evolving trends and technologies, employees need to take the initiative to take up new challenges and learn new skills and technologies that are expected to take over in the future.

Companies prefer employees who are creative, analytical and skilled to take ownership of their jobs rather than those who adhere to the ‘do as told’ policy. Employers expect prospective employees and the existing ones to bring additional value to the table. Skills training will not only enhance an employee’s existing skills, but also enhance the skills required by industry, thus making the professional more valuable at the workplace.

(Gopal Devanahalli - The author is CEO, MeritTrac Services)

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