Skills for Bridging the Employability Gap

There are four critical skills that are essential for success - business communication skills, technical skills, domain skills and relationship management skills, though the mix of skills might differ based on job and sector.

India today has a population base of 1.15 billion with almost 53% in the working age group of 15 – 59 years. Going purely by numbers, we are well positioned to cater to the demand of the ever growing services sector which will cater to almost 70% of future GDP growth. However, from a quality perspective we are lagging behind.

For most graduates, college education does not necessarily translate into a job. Only 3 out of 10 graduates are considered employable. This is largely due to the lack of ‘employability skills’. The National Skill Development Policy of March 2009 states that, “Skills and Knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development for any country.” If graduates are able to equip themselves with these employability skills, they will have access to ample opportunities for good career growth in the services sector.

There are four critical skills that are essential for success - business communication skills, technical skills, domain skills and relationship management skills. The mix of skills might differ based on the job and sector, but nevertheless each of these is essential for growth and success in the services industry.

Communication Skills : The basic skill that people absolutely have to possess is the ability to communicate effectively. The importance of this competency, often taken for granted, cannot be understated. Today success in the corporate world squarely rests on how well an individual can communicate his ideas, make presentations, address groups of people and possess skills of articulation and negotiation.

Tech Savvy: Almost all jobs in the services sector require a basic comfort with technology. This could be as simple as being able to type, fill out online forms, write emails and perform simple calculations for some professions. On the other hand there are jobs that require expertise and experience with sophisticated technology. A computer programmer writes software code and also designs logical structures for solving problems or performing tasks. Acquiring these specialized skills requires them to go through courses in software engineering.

Domain Skill:  Another area that needs focus is domain skills – the basic terminology and processes of a particular industry. For example, someone working for a banking client needs to have a good understanding of the processes and terms used by this industry. Domain skills are also valuable if you are working in one sector of the economy, but servicing clients in another sector. As an engineer developing a software application for a customer service function in the banking sector, the technical person needs to have an understanding of banking procedures, documentation and functionality of various banking applications and transactions.

Relationship Management: Another key skill which is often overlooked is relationship management skills. At the most basic level team work is critical and hence the need to build relationships with peers, managers and juniors. The ability to sell and articulate the value proposition of a particular product or service is essential in a sales or marketing role. As one advances in one’s career, the ability build trusted relationships with customers becomes essential.

Some of the skills discussed above can be acquired on the job, but it is always good to focus on them early in one’s professional career. It is also important to understand that business conditions change frequently. Employers value flexibility and adaptability. Do not expect things to remain the same forever. One must learn to foresee changes in the business atmosphere and adapt accordingly.

(TalentSprint creates high performance professionals for the global industry through fast track transformations. Focused on IT and BFSI sectors, TalentSprint has developed experiential learning programs that are based on industry-designed curriculum and are backed by national or international certifications.)

Madhu Jalan 
Senior VP, Marketing & Program Development

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