Building A Future-Ready Workforce In VUCA World

To address this inflating cost of talent acquisition, organisations will have to drive employee scalability through skilling and create a Future-ready talent pool


Every industry is subject to its workforce facing disruption from different forces, forcing it to adapt and transform to survive. Technology has been a major disruption this decade and even as the workforce across industries in India was grappling with this shift, the COVID-19 pandemic brought in more disruption, hastening the need to change, and intensifying anxieties about the future, especially about preparedness to face the future of work.

Now, let’s evaluate the dynamic work ecosystem, which has relegated people and work to remote locations. Trends in employment have been changing with employers grappling to control the cost of acquisition and the overall cost of resources. For instance, in the IT/ITes sector, the need for candidates in Data Science, Analytics, Engineering and front & back-end roles are increasing exponentially. However, even as the demand rises and multiple offers are rolled out to job seekers, many are holding on to the offers despite receiving a minimum of a 100% hike. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations to onboard skilled candidates and the ratio of job offers to joining has dropped significantly from 75% to merely 60%. For organisations that are rather selective about hiring the best talent, have an offer to join ratio of 35%. Furthermore, it has severely impacted workforce productivity levels through compromised hiring techniques and employee scalability.

To address this inflating cost of talent acquisition, organisations will have to drive employee scalability through skilling and create a Future-ready talent pool. However, most of the current workforce consists of market-ready talent and although they are employable currently, they don’t necessarily have the skills that are essential for future jobs. Furthermore, a significant number of future jobs will be unpredictable and will require a different set of skills than those displayed by the current crop of talent. More needs to be done to equip the workforce with the functional, technical and behavioural skills they will need to serve as a part of the Future ready talent pool. Therefore, there needs to be an attitude shift from being Market Ready to becoming Talent Ready.

What does future-ready mean?

Market-ready talent faces the risk of becoming redundant due to the rapid transformation of job roles and organisations. It is here that upskilling and reskilling play a critical role in creating future talent, providing a solution to fill future job requirements and ensure overall growth of the organisation.

Upskilling is imperative and one of the most important things professionals can do to not only retain their current job roles but also to move up in their career or make meaningful career transitions. Many organisations are also increasingly investing in upskilling programs for their employees to ensure their roles remain relevant even in a post-COVID world.

How can professionals be future-ready?

Professionals should make unlearning and learning their constant companions. Learning is a lifelong process and it doesn’t end with a degree. To stay relevant and face the challenges that are thrown up by unprecedented events like the pandemic or to seize the unseen opportunities that lie ahead, it is critical for the workforce to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn.

Specialisation is another important factor. Specialising gives learners ample opportunities to expand their thinking, thus enabling them to make their skills indispensable. Today, organisations are actively looking out for future-ready talent who have specialised skill-sets that can add value to the workforce. Hence the right specialisation will make you a domain expert rather than a plain vanilla industry professional.

The rise of EdTech companies has made this simpler and easier. Professionals can constantly reskill themselves and also choose the right specialisation for themselves as per the latest career trends. Additionally, some EdTech companies also offer mentorship and end-to-end career support services.

How can organisations build a future-ready workforce?

Although organisations across the world have realised the importance and power of upskilling their employees, there is still a need for wholesome learning that encompasses the organisational mindset, skillset provided by L&D, and toolset available with the learners.

This is where the EdTech companies can help in building a future-ready workforce by providing corporates with an organisation-wide on-demand learning capability. EdTech companies that follow a 360-degree approach are best to plan workforce development that in turn creates/supports sustainability and is in line with the organisation’s business goals.

Skill assessment and competency mapping can help to assess the need gap giving rise to a complete transformation roadmap with competency-driven training programs that are customised for specific objectives in sync with the business goals. These programs can be delivered using cutting-edge platforms with 24x7 learner support. Post these programs, the training outcomes can be analysed to measure business impact and lay down the learning path for the future.

To conclude, the most prudent way forward for organisations will be to choose the right EdTech platform, which has proven expertise and capabilities and is dynamic enough to understand the market shifts and design their products accordingly. This will insulate their staff from redundancy and ensure that upskilling and reskilling are woven into the fabric of the organisation to effectively prepare them for the future.

(The given article is attributed to Husain Tinwala, Co-founder, upGrad Rekrut and solely created for BW People)


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