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Coursera’s Global Skills Index 2020 Says India Lagging in Data Science, Emerging in Business & Tech skills

Coursera has recently launched its Global Skills Index 2020. The index suggests that India while lagging in data science skills, surges past other nations in business and tech skills. The report says, “Higher skill proficiency is linked to GDP growth, labor force participation, and income equality, according to Coursera’s latest Global Skills Index. The report provides an exhaustive insight at the state of skills around the world.

Accessing its 65 million learners registered to the platform and drawing on the rich performance data of these learners over the last one year, the report can be considered as a point of reference of skills proficiency for 60 countries, 10 industries, and 11 fields of study in business, technology, and data science. Additionally the report offers an early analysis of the pandemic which has impacted the lives of more than 555 million workers and 200 million higher education students around the world and its ramification on the skills landscape.

In May India recorded unemployment rate of 27.1% with 122 million job loss in March and April. “To revive jobs and economies, institutions must enable widespread access to skills development so that people can swiftly enter and return to the workforce. This requires understanding the state of job-relevant skills for their respective populations, including for their countries, industries, and fields of study. Equipped with insights from the report, leaders across private, public, and education sectors can shape reskilling efforts for economic revival,” says the report.

According to Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, “Workforce recovery in a post-pandemic world relies on broad base reskilling. Institutions must lead this effort by providing people with equal access to skills needed for the jobs of the future”. “This year’s Global Skills Index reveals skills trends and insights that will inspire institutions to coordinate skills development for a more inclusive and advanced workforce,” he adds.

The report takes into account 16 nations in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and 60 others across the world. In the report India has been ranked in the emerging or lagging categories in key skill domains like – Business (#8/16 in APAC and #34/60 globally), Technology (#10/16 in APAC and #40/60 globally) and Data Science (#12/16 in APAC and #51/60 globally).

Important takeaways from the report –

The India and APAC perspective

•              India straggles in data science skills, particularly in data management. As per the data science field is concerned, India is ranked no. 51 globally (struggling) and #12 among APAC nations. In data management proficiency, India is ranked no. 58 globally which is a little better than Nigeria (0%) and Philippines (2%); and at 3% skills proficiency no. 15 among APAC countries which is also not very encouraging a afact.

Fast rise of big data and analytics created a gigantic gap in data science experts. Reports published by Qlik and Accenture, shows that dearth in data skills costs Indian companies productivity worth rupees 332 billion per year.

•              That said, India was found to surge past China in business and technology skills. In the business sphere, the country has been ranked no. 34 globally (emerging), and China is placed at no. 45. Again in the tech field, India has been ranked no. 40 in the world (emerging), while China is placed at no. 50.

In February 2020, Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) identified emerging talent trends for India in 2020 based on inputs from talent acquisition, development and compensation experts from across the country. According to said Konika Chadha, Head of Professional Search, Korn Ferry India, Technological advancement is impacting the talent requirements across all industries. As such, talent with a technology background who can help the company navigate the digital future are becoming more important. Companies are also looking for talent who can navigate the future and see through the changes in business models, including putting the right funding in the right place.

“The rate, at which the market is evolving, is much faster than anticipated by most industries. With technological changes and new emerging markets, companies will continue to generate huge demand for leaders and technology-oriented roles.” Navnit Singh, Chairman & Regional Managing Director, Korn Ferry India, commented in the report. “For economies like India, the shift towards building an agile work force and further developing world class local talent whilst remaining attractive as a global innovation hub is going to be critical for its future proofing. Companies that offer opportunities to employees to continuously develop their capabilities to stay relevant in the future workforce, and adopt holistic rewards strategies, that consider the priorities of different generations, will have a distinct advantage,” he added.

Also according to 2018 Talent Crunch study by Korn Ferry, India will experience a talent surplus by 2030 due to a growing, younger working population compared to the aging population in China. The study predicts that by the time we reach 2030, the talent surplus will become most apparent in sectors including financial services (excess of 1.1 million professionals), technology, media, telecommunications (excess of 1.3 million professionals), and manufacturing (excess of 2.44 million professionals).

•              Worldwide, APAC is now an emerging place for data science skills. The fact that 12 out of 16 countries in APAC are either lagging or emerging in data science proves the point. Merely four countries are showing competitive skills in data science: Hong Kong (75%), Singapore (73%), New Zealand (59%) and Australia (54%).

Today organisations are setting up data and analytics tools to deal with higher data volume and also to obtain deeper insights in order to frame business strategies. PwC’s report Global Industry 4.0 reveals about 82% of organisations in the APAC region are likely to put into practice data-driven strategies in next five years.

The global perspective

•              Nations (developed and developing) excelling in critical skills, are seen to have more income equality. The data shows a negative connection between a country’s average skill expertise in different domains and share of income recorded by top 10 percent in a country.

•              Companies with exceedingly skilled professionals, particularly in tech domains, are witnessing better stock returns and fewer disruptions from COVID-19. The data further shows the association of an industry’s skill proficiency with its one-year U.S. stock return is 43% across all skill domains and 39% with the technology domain.

COVID-19 shaping skills landscape worldwide

  • Among the 200 million students whose higher education is affected by coronavirus, Eighty percent belong to countries with emerging or lagging skills. Millions others faced difficulties in their studies due to school closures. These students are from countries already in need of more accessible learning. 80% of students undergoing tertiary education belong to countries with both closed schools due to COVID-19 and are placed at the lower half of the world rankings for proficiency in business, technology, and data science skills.

  • Time is ripe to understand that institutions have to work together to democratize access to quality online learning and make sure that the world is ready for the rapidly changing economy. Only this can help us overcome deepening skill inequities.

  • Institutions going through COVID-19 pandemic are found to prioritize business, technology, and data science skills. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, new set of critical skills are in demand across the business, technology, and data science domains. These skills are considered highly valuable to compete in an increasingly digital world. Today with the pandemic wrecking havoc all over the world, governments, businesses, and education institutions deeply prioritize these skills.

  • Another interesting finding is that personal development skills like confidence, stress management, mindfulness have become much sought after and among individual learners the demand for these skills has grown by 1,200%. Aspirants are exploring programs like Yale University’s Science of Well-Being to alleviate mental and emotional stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Author: Baishali Mukherjee

Profile- An independent writer and journalist for last nine years; presently working with Education World, Entrepreneur India, Scrabbl.com and Stoodnt.com. Worked as the content head for four books and have articles and features published in leading print and digital media spaces.

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