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Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context 
The issue of skills gap in India poses a great concern to educational institutions and the 
industry alike. The experts are busy connecting the dots between the inadequacy of 
industry-oriented curriculum in the universities and shortage of skilled professionals that 
leave hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled at a time when there is already high 
unemployment. India is set to have the largest working population by 2030. In the next 
five years, the problem will be more on the supply side than a demand crisis as the 
skills gap is bound to witness a twofold increase in comparison to the labor work force. 
The Indian economy has witnessed a slump in the past two years, which has affected 
the youth unemployment, especially for graduates seeking white-collar jobs. Even so, 
some sections of the economy are desperately seeking skilled workers. Every year 
almost four lakh Engineering students pass out from their colleges, out of which only 
two lakh get jobs in industries and rest two lakh struggle for employment. The problem 
is acute in India, both in terms of education and skilling. India's demographic hump 
predicts that the hundreds of millions of young people who will enter the job market 
might prove to be onerous to the nation. 
According to a report, the attrition in India is at 14 percent which is marginally higher 
than the global and Asia Pacific countries (11.20 per cent and 13.81 per cent 
respectively). There are monumental challenges involved in attracting talent with critical 
skills and more than that in retaining the high performers. According to a Hay Group 
study, the employee turnover in India was predicted to rise to 26.9% in 2013 with an 
employee base of Rs 3 crores compared with 26% in 2010 on an employee base of Rs 
2.8 crores. 
A large percentage of the young students who pass out of the undergraduate colleges 
and universities fail miserably to get a job, not to mention a job of their liking. There are 
several reasons for the same. Obsession with text book learning and white-collar 
dreams are the more prominent ones. Most of them are averse to the idea of taking up 
a blue-collar job even if it could assure them of a decent income and employment. India 
has excellent alumni from the top universities and educational institutions who are very 
capable of finding work or securing a great career both domestically and abroad. 
Page 1 of 3
Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context 
But that is just the picture on the surface. The real problem lies beneath it. A large part 
of the university programs either do not cater to the needs of the industry or possess 
obsolete and irrelevant teaching methodologies that fail to impart the right skills. Hence 
the graduates are left with no choice but to settle for work that is nowhere related to or 
beneath their capabilities. 
In the typical Indian mindset, if an undergraduate college aspirant doesn’t opt to be an 
engineer or a doctor, it is indirectly implied that he or she is not evolving towards a 
secure or promising career. The societal pressure, parental force and the faulty mindset 
(which could be termed as herd mentality) contribute their fair share in widening the 
skills gap. There is an unbridgeable disparity between what the students are taught and 
the skill-sets that employers look for. The situation is further worsened by an apparent 
lack of skilled trainers and a poorly paid, under resourced teaching group. 
Students must have the latitude to choose the area of their interests, wherein they can 
thrive and take their professional careers ahead. There is no point in making a hue and 
cry when a high performer or an employee leaves an organization prematurely. The root 
cause lies in the fact that either the right candidate was not hired or the wrong candidate 
was hired for the right job. 
To address these issues, one of the laudable initiatives of the government is the 
establishment of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to achieve the 
target of skilling / upskilling 150 million people by 2022 by fostering private sector 
initiatives in the skill development space. It is not as if we are short of talent. The issue 
lies in the recruitment of young talent for skills which have nothing to do with what they 
study in college. Even so, when young graduates do join the organization and later 
discover a disconnect between their skills and the job roles offered to them, they still 
linger on, just for the sake of supporting their livelihoods even while they batter against 
the helplessness to find a better job. The result – both the employees and employers 
are unhappy. 
Page 2 of 3
Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context 
This is why institutions must collaborate with the industry and make an effort to identify 
the need of the business today. Industry is just an enabler - institutions must play a 
major role in designing a curriculum to make students "employable at all times". 
Innovative measures such as internships, combined research and mutual development 
of curriculum are crucial. With valuable inputs from the industry an appropriate 
framework for a useful teaching methodology can be created. Training, Teaching and 
Learning must be in sync with each other. Because, getting a job matters – but getting 
the right job matters more. 
Page 3 of 3

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Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context

  • 1. Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context The issue of skills gap in India poses a great concern to educational institutions and the industry alike. The experts are busy connecting the dots between the inadequacy of industry-oriented curriculum in the universities and shortage of skilled professionals that leave hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled at a time when there is already high unemployment. India is set to have the largest working population by 2030. In the next five years, the problem will be more on the supply side than a demand crisis as the skills gap is bound to witness a twofold increase in comparison to the labor work force. The Indian economy has witnessed a slump in the past two years, which has affected the youth unemployment, especially for graduates seeking white-collar jobs. Even so, some sections of the economy are desperately seeking skilled workers. Every year almost four lakh Engineering students pass out from their colleges, out of which only two lakh get jobs in industries and rest two lakh struggle for employment. The problem is acute in India, both in terms of education and skilling. India's demographic hump predicts that the hundreds of millions of young people who will enter the job market might prove to be onerous to the nation. According to a report, the attrition in India is at 14 percent which is marginally higher than the global and Asia Pacific countries (11.20 per cent and 13.81 per cent respectively). There are monumental challenges involved in attracting talent with critical skills and more than that in retaining the high performers. According to a Hay Group study, the employee turnover in India was predicted to rise to 26.9% in 2013 with an employee base of Rs 3 crores compared with 26% in 2010 on an employee base of Rs 2.8 crores. A large percentage of the young students who pass out of the undergraduate colleges and universities fail miserably to get a job, not to mention a job of their liking. There are several reasons for the same. Obsession with text book learning and white-collar dreams are the more prominent ones. Most of them are averse to the idea of taking up a blue-collar job even if it could assure them of a decent income and employment. India has excellent alumni from the top universities and educational institutions who are very capable of finding work or securing a great career both domestically and abroad. Page 1 of 3
  • 2. Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context But that is just the picture on the surface. The real problem lies beneath it. A large part of the university programs either do not cater to the needs of the industry or possess obsolete and irrelevant teaching methodologies that fail to impart the right skills. Hence the graduates are left with no choice but to settle for work that is nowhere related to or beneath their capabilities. In the typical Indian mindset, if an undergraduate college aspirant doesn’t opt to be an engineer or a doctor, it is indirectly implied that he or she is not evolving towards a secure or promising career. The societal pressure, parental force and the faulty mindset (which could be termed as herd mentality) contribute their fair share in widening the skills gap. There is an unbridgeable disparity between what the students are taught and the skill-sets that employers look for. The situation is further worsened by an apparent lack of skilled trainers and a poorly paid, under resourced teaching group. Students must have the latitude to choose the area of their interests, wherein they can thrive and take their professional careers ahead. There is no point in making a hue and cry when a high performer or an employee leaves an organization prematurely. The root cause lies in the fact that either the right candidate was not hired or the wrong candidate was hired for the right job. To address these issues, one of the laudable initiatives of the government is the establishment of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to achieve the target of skilling / upskilling 150 million people by 2022 by fostering private sector initiatives in the skill development space. It is not as if we are short of talent. The issue lies in the recruitment of young talent for skills which have nothing to do with what they study in college. Even so, when young graduates do join the organization and later discover a disconnect between their skills and the job roles offered to them, they still linger on, just for the sake of supporting their livelihoods even while they batter against the helplessness to find a better job. The result – both the employees and employers are unhappy. Page 2 of 3
  • 3. Bridging the Skills Gap - India Context This is why institutions must collaborate with the industry and make an effort to identify the need of the business today. Industry is just an enabler - institutions must play a major role in designing a curriculum to make students "employable at all times". Innovative measures such as internships, combined research and mutual development of curriculum are crucial. With valuable inputs from the industry an appropriate framework for a useful teaching methodology can be created. Training, Teaching and Learning must be in sync with each other. Because, getting a job matters – but getting the right job matters more. Page 3 of 3