The Key to Closing the Skills Gap in India?

Aug 9, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Just over 40 percent of India’s educators believe that the country’s higher education system is currently able to respond to changing societal needs, according to a recent IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Upskilling India,” reveals a number of other valuable takeaways, as well as suggestions for bridging the talent shortage and shoring up the country’s future -- beginning with higher education.

Eye-Opening Findings

The report highlights the gap between India’s promising economy “fueled by an entrepreneurial culture and youthful workforce” and the current reality in which graduates of India’s higher education system lack job-ready skills.

In fact, according to the report, a full 70 percent of India’s venture capitalists say that startups cannot find employees with the right skills, while just 40 percent of Indian industry executives believe that newly recruited employees have the requisite skills demanded by local labor markets.

Toward a Solution

The report proposes that rethinking higher education is the key to helping grads gain the skills they need to contribute. More specifically, priorities include developing more experiential and real-world learning opportunities for students; embracing new teaching techniques and technologies; building alliances with industry collaborators; and developing and building an education ecosystem with clearly defined goals and commitments.

While these changes may be significant, experts say they are critical if  India is to overcome the obstacles ahead. Says DP Singh, Vice President and Head - HR, IBM India/ South Asia, "Today's rapidly evolving economic environment makes developing new skills an imperative across job profiles and sectors. At IBM, we believe in providing an environment that fosters new learning and development experiences aided by the power of technology. We are working with government bodies, academia, corporates, startups and recruitment firms to equip India with a ‘job-ready’ workforce."

Learn more about studying in India.



Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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