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Soft Skills for Hard Results

21st century employability skills are critical for Knowledge Economies and the new mantra for organizations enforcing strategies and tools to unlock top performance.

A recent Annual Employability Survey 2019 by Aspiring Minds has revealed that 80% of Indian engineers are not fit for any job in the knowledge economy. This is when India has 760 universities making it the third largest higher education system in the world! The massive skill gap is going to cost us in more ways than one. While the future of these graduates is at risk, it is estimated that the skill gap can cost India $1.97 trillion in GDP growth over the next decade.

At the same time, recent employer surveys by Wadhwani Opportunity have also revealed a critical hiring differentiator – employers demand a lot more than just a degree. They are looking for specific employability (soft) skills that go a long way in contributing to workplace success in an environment which is more demanding, more complex, more collaborative, and more diverse than ever before.

There is a growing body of knowledge debating as to why skill development is important and which soft skills are most critical for workplace success. Feedback from employers in India points towards eight employability skills as most critical and in tune with the 21st century workplace demands i.e. communication, self-management, customer centricity, teamwork, digital literacy, problem solving, market awareness and entrepreneurial mindset.

These core employability skills should be embedded in all education and training through methodologies that encourage experiential learning.

Why are employability skills fast gaining importance?

Employers are fast realizing the substantial impact that employability skills can have on the capabilities of hires giving them an edge. These skills enable individuals to continually acquire and adapt to new age trends in a dynamic business environment where lifelong learning is critical and quick adaptation to technological change and organizational restructuring is a must.

HR Managers are increasingly looking for skills beyond the existing 3R (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic) model that Indian education system follows. They are laying big emphasis on core employability skills that complement the skills developed through basic and technical education. In a competitive labour market, graduates are expected to be upskilling on a regular basis to transfer essential skills from one occupation to another. What this implies is that individuals also need the proficiency to exploit new age attributes and skill-sets enhance their marketability, technical competence, and human relations.

For organizational efficiency, twenty-first century graduates need to function independently in roles that require problem solving and decision-making. This may entail strategies to improve production, service, product etc. through clearly demonstrated creativity and flexibility in approach. Hence, being proficient in soft skills is extremely important for a candidate/employee to be industry-ready and job-ready with a broad range of interpersonal and managerial skills to improve collaboration and productivity.

Recent data insights from corroborate the rising influence of soft skills in the corporate world.

• 77% of employers believe that soft skills are as important as hard ones
• 67% of HR Managers will hire candidates with strong soft skills even if their hard skills are weak
• 43% of HR Managers cite cultural fit (due to soft skills) as the single most determining factor for a new hire
• 46% of new hires fail in the first 18-months, usually due to lack of soft skills

With rapid technological advancement, global competitiveness and the resultant redesign of the workplace into a flexible high-performance work environment, the Wadhwani Skillup program works with individuals to build sector-agnostic core and professional skills enabling easy access to learning with NextGenTM, the Wadhwani Foundation’s proprietary cloud-based platform for learning-delivery. Click HERE to know more on how to develop soft skills, improve your employability and expand career opportunities with Wadhwani Opportunity.

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