The job market is consistently evolving, period. Some of the jobs that existed a decade back have either become obsolete or gone extinct today.
This phase of societal evolution is challenging - if not daunting - for not just students and workforce in the making but teachers as well.
For teachers, the challenge is super intense because they have to juggle multiple concerns at the same time. They have to make sure their classes are interesting. They have to monitor the assimilation of information among students. They have to ensure the education students receive is relevant and equips them with the skills they would need to excel in life and career. Lastly, they also have to foster an environment that consistently nurtures their quest to learn.
To throw in some numbers, a coverage by the Economic Times of a Goldman Sachs report reveals that close to 110 million students will become job-ready by the year 2020. Though this report dates back to the year 2010, the fact that we will have a entirely new generation of workforce with us is real and valid.
This is a totally convincing number and something employers and market players should be excited about. However, this indeed tones the excitement levels down considering the fact that the existing workforce is confused with its radically-changing job profiles. There have been massive layoﬀs across India in the last couple of years in the pretext of automation and demanding skill sets.
With concepts and technologies like data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning taking over the job market by storm, people with redundant skill sets are being pushed to upskill to the more in-demand skills. This has adversely aﬀected mid-senior and senior associates, who have been possessing outdated skillsets.
To add to this, the EY Future of Jobs in India report published in the year 2017 shares that by 2022, 9% of the workforce would be deployed in jobs that do not exist today and 37% of the workforce would be stuck in jobs that demand dynamically changing skill sets and.
Analysing the reports from EY and Goldman Sachs, one thing that stands out is the fact that education of the graduating workforce will be completely irrelevant to what is expected out of it from the year 2020 (which is next year).
SO WHAT DOES THIS IMPLY?
Considering the current in demand skills, which is mostly software engineering, system engineering, business analysis, design engineering and project engineering across software, manufacturing, finance and corporate services, it is imperative that the jobs will evolve into more specific job roles within the bubble. Businesses will go ahead and prefer specialists over generalists and the so-called all rounders would be done away with.
Companies will look for people with specific traits and thought processes, which the current education methodology fails to equip today’s students. Being just passive participants, there are hardly any ways to track student attentiveness and enthusiasm in classrooms, their learning curves and abilities, implement collaborative learning techniques and test if students could work as a team and more.
This is probably where smart classrooms come into picture. And by smart, we don’t mean computer screens projected over a big wall and teaching digital versions of books to over 50 students at once.
We are talking about devices that are similar to interactive whiteboards but better. At a time when powerful interactive computing devices are flooding the market, schools and education institutions should really capitalize on this opportunity to sort of push the limits and equip students with the most required skill sets and traits expected by companies in the coming years.
WHAT ARE THE SKILLS AND TRAITS COMPANIES WOULD PREFER?
As the job market continues to evolve and become more competitive, companies would look for candidates with skills that would set them apart. Redundant criteria like educational qualification, colleges and schools they graduated from will have less to zero weightage before factors like relevance of education, their interests and hobbies, any personal projects they have ventured into, their portfolios and their attitude. Cultural fit will also be a decisive factor in companies as they learn to filter those with templated answers to introduce yourself questions and photocopied resumes.
In short, businesses would need -
1. Kickstarters who would proactively take initiatives that complement company vision, mission and goals
2. Everyday learners who are always up for staying updated in their field of work
3. Collaborative team players who would fit well in teams
4. Remote workers who are comfortable working from wherever they are and take ownership of tasks provided
5. Diﬀerence makers who would move away from doing redundant tasks and bring in their individuality and creativity to their work
HOW EDTECH DEVICES CAN MAKE STUDENTS MORE EMPLOYABLE?
EdTech devices nurture all these qualities in the minds of the workforce of tomorrow. If it’s not innate in students, tech-powered education will help them develop from scratch. Apart from the fact that these devices make education interesting and immersive, they also help in analyzing a number of factors.
1. With features like sentiment analysis, teachers can track the strengths and weaknesses of students and enable them to pursue their interests.
2. EdTech devices are all about collaborative learning, where students are required to nurture their team spirit and work in groups
3. Moving away from the methodology of memorizing concepts and writing them down during exams, these devices kindle the inquisitiveness in kids and students. This will allow them to seek answers, question everything, understand logic behind concepts and apply their learning in real life. Companies would need people with analytical mindsets in their teams rather than mere task executioners.
4. Businesses also need explorers, who wouldn’t hesitate taking a diﬀerent route or approach to solving business concerns. There is textbook knowledge on one side and there’s the learning from the text book on the other. While former shows a straightforward approach to solutions, the latter shows the solution and lets the ponderer come up with the most eﬃcient route.
5. Besides, EdTech devices also bridge the gap between what students learn and what industries expect by equipping teachers with the most updated information to impart to their students. From videos, images and other graphic elements to scholarly articles, they can oﬀer the most relevant information students would need to excel in their academics and careers.
While it’s easy to churn out graduates year after year, it’s an extremely daunting task to produce employable graduates. While stats from LinkedIn clearly reveal that engineers have an upper hand when it comes to landing a job, it is also saddening that over 80% engineers are unemployable in the job market. Refining the stats further, approximately 2.5% of the engineering pool has exposure to artificial intelligence and only 5.5% has basic programming skills.
If this is the way forward, it’s not just the quality of life of our future workforce that is at stake but our economy and industries as well. If there’s an antidote to this, it is the implementation of EdTech devices in institutions across the country. Let us know your thoughts on the comment.