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Your degree will no longer define your career

– Sumesh Nair, Co-founder & CEO, Board Infinity

The unpredictability of technological advancement and disruption is a fact that can never be insulated from a degree by any institution, no matter how highly reputed it is.  

As the world faces a reskilling emergency, we do not need degrees to pay our bills, we need skills.

In India, only half of all graduates are employable because they lack professional skills, according to the 8th edition of the India Skills Report (ISR). The report also states that only 45.9 percent of graduates are found to be employable in 2021, down from 46.21 percent in 2020 and 47.38 percent in 2019. What has caused this decline in the job market? It’s the lack of professional skills among the graduates holding degrees in various academic fields.

With the proliferation of future skills-based jobs, we can see multiple industries experiencing an ever-increasing employability gap. Apart from traditional IT/ITES, these sectors also include banking and financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, health care, etc.

It’s no surprise that artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning are reshaping our world. As a result of these advancements, both traditional jobs and new ones are being created in the modern workplace. However, the pace of the job creation and skill supply is not coherent which is rendering people out-of-skills or jobless.

A situation like this makes it vital that educational institutions anticipate and prepare for future skill requirements or the traditional academic degrees will soon lose their relevance to future requirements of job industries.

Too often, degrees are still seen as permanent badges of professional competence.

In principle, this creates an impression of security, leading people to believe work – and the knowledge needed to perform it – is static, when it is clearly not the case!

A degree has traditionally been a passport to any job and an opportunity for an improved lifestyle. However, that will soon be ruled out as businesses actively seek out new hires and/or evaluate upskilling existing employees either to fulfil existing demands and/or to create future growth opportunities.

Thus, to remain relevant in the job market, furthering your education and staying up-to-date with the emerging technologies is the only way to secure your future rather than multiple academic degrees of diminishing value. The situation clearly states that the future of employment lies in becoming a problem-solver rather than a professional graduate.

Digitalization accelerated by the pandemic has impacted and led to the creation of various career options if the demands for digital literacy and other skills are fulfilled by job-seekers.

This has led to a staggering pace of change in education as job requirements dictate the courses available and has led to the emergence of various certification courses to maintain relevance with upcoming skills.

Professional certifications are primarily focused on practical application, execution, and job readines. Regardless of academic background, these courses are helping individuals get paid well, stay relevant for a long time, and in a way ensure their careers while also generating immediate value for the employers in a very short time.

A majority of professionals in high-risk roles are turning to this as a way of restarting their career and transitioning into roles that are more relevant in the future.

According to a recent report commissioned by Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), the number of Indian workers who require digital skills will grow nine-fold by 2025 and workers will have to learn seven new skills to keep up with technology advancements. In total, this would amount to 3.9 billion people in digital skill training per year. Currently, only 12% of India’s workforce is digitally skilled.

We notice a growing need for people to acquire specialized skills that will help them interact with one another in addition to hard skills such as Business Analysis, Analytical Reasoning, Affiliate Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Cloud Computing. The competencies include creativity, collaboration, interpersonal abilities, as well as those related to sales, human resources, and education.

Taking advantage of this information will allow us to reduce our reliance on college degrees as proof of ability and indulge into thoughtful and continuous learning to never tick ourselves out of the market. This will open up more career options for the future and ensure our continuous growth.

The world is continually changing around us, and the only mantra that can guarantee our survival is to update ourselves and continue evolving to stay relevant.

Also read: In-demand business skills of the 21st century

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