Most surveys around skilling throw up one common thread - the need to up-skill. That's because in this age of automation, every role comes with a higher skills bias.
HBR Ascend, a learning platform from Harvard Business Review, released a 'Youth Skills Survey' today that underlines this desire to acquire skills that could help with the future of work. The survey was conducted in June 2019 to understand "skills gap and barriers to success". About 4,043 members took the survey across the world.
One-third of the respondents said that "education helped them build necessary technical skills but not soft skills, while 15 per cent of respondents indicated that their education provided them with a holistic grounding of both technical as well as softer skills". The surveyed stated that they were eager to learn and were willing to invest in up-skilling. Skills that can beef up a resume include data science (38 per cent), creative and innovative thinking (33 per cent), analytical thinking (30 per cent), business communications (29 per cent), as well as Artificial Intelligence and automation (27 per cent).
What is the preferred mode to undergo up-skilling programmes? The survey stated that "while a vast majority across the world prefers learning through articles, blogs and research publications, the majority in India (57 per cent) and South-East Asia (56 per cent) prefer learning by watching videos".
The survey carried a warning for employers. Almost one out of two of the respondents said that they experience periods of disengagement at work. "Around 18 per cent report that they feel engaged only when working on challenging and interesting projects. The respondents' employer of choice is defined by five key characteristic: flexible work conditions (27 per cent); a clear career path with advancement opportunities (25 per cent); strong training and development programs (20 per cent), a clear vision of corporate goals and mission (20 per cent), and passionate and engaging leaders (19 per cent)". The desire for flexible working conditions has now fuelled the growth of co-working real estate in many countries, including India.
An interesting finding from the survey is on the impact of automation on jobs. About 61 per cent of the respondents said that some of their tasks could be automated; six per cent said that all of their work could be automated; 24 per cent indicated that what they do cannot be replaced by a machine.
"In India, 65 per cent feel that some of their work could be done by a robot. Whereas, in developed nations such as the United States, only one out of three respondents shows confidence about their role not being taken over by AI," the survey stated.