Is India’s workforce ready for the digital demands of tomorrow?

Is India’s workforce ready for the digital demands of tomorrow?

If India is to successfully pursue its self-reliance aims it will need skilled workers. However, a new report commissioned by Amazon Web Services (AWS) from strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta indicates a massive shortfall in one key area: digital technology.

In fact India will need nine times as many digital skilled workers by 2025, according to the report, called Unlocking APAC’s Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches. 

Digitally skilled workers apparently represent a mere 12 per cent of India’s workforce at the moment. The report suggests that the average worker in India will need to develop seven new digital skills by 2025 to keep pace with technology advancements and demand. That’s clearly a lot of  digital skills training.

The report, which analyses the digital skills applied by workers in their jobs today, and projects the digital skills required by workforces over the next five years, is not India-specific. It also covers Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. However, its findings on India have been widely covered by the press in that country. 

It’s worth bearing in mind, of course, that this isn’t just about skills for technology sectors. Other sectors, like manufacturing and education, will increasingly make demands in digital skills too – in areas like content creation and digital security, to name only two.

The report, available at the AWS site, also notes that 76 percent of the digital workers in India today expect cloud computing to be a required competency for digital workers to perform their jobs proficiently by 2025.

One might reasonably expect AWS to focus strongly on an area that is highly relevant to its focus and requirements. Nevertheless, the report points out that cloud architecture design, software operations support, website/game/software development, large-scale data modelling, and cybersecurity skills are the top five in-demand digital skills in India.

The problem for India, therefore, seems to be twofold. To build technological self-reliance will require a digitally skilled workforce. But few sectors will remain untouched by digital technology in any case. Training is the obvious answer. But can the government get the workforce to where it needs to be in only four years?


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