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Covid-19-bitten working professionals take to upskilling to remain relevant

TE Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on February 10, 2021

Post Covid-19, firms will prefer talent-based hiring over skill-based; will seek rational thinking, problem-solving skills, ability to perform practical tasks in candidates

With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting every sector and leading to a lot of uncertainty in the job market, working professionals have opted to upskill, and remain relevant in the changing work environment to secure their careers. This, in turn, has led to a huge demand for upskilling programs.

V Ragupathy in Ranipet has been working for a leather company for over a decade. During the lockdown when his unit had less work, he used the spare time to complete a three-month online crash course in leather technology. Similarly, software programmer Sudharshan improved his soft skills through a three-month online course. Lakhs of such working professionals used the period of the pandemic and consequent slower pace of work, to their advantage.

Also read: Spike in search for ‘placement consultancies’ and ‘job training’: study

User trends recently released by Great Learning says that 74 per cent of working professionals who opted for upskilling programs in 2020 had less than three years of experience, followed by 6 per cent from among professionals with 8-12 years of experience. Engineering/IT, BFSI, education and manufacturing were the top sectors that generated the maximum traction.

Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning, said that the professional education space has been growing rapidly in the last few years. However, during the pandemic, the interest in upskilling in domains of technology and business skills among working professionals surged significantly with 5X growth in the learner base on the company’s platform.

The pandemic acted as a catalyst to push ed-tech companies to ensure that they not only maintain high-quality delivery of content but also introduce new platforms and programs which help learners to power ahead. The programs in high demand included data science, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AL), digital marketing and management, he added.

Agreeing with Nair, Sharad Mehra, CEO, Asia Pacific Region, Global University Systems, said that year 2020 had thrown more than its fair share of challenges and opportunities for working professionals across industries. As the digital transformation continues unabated, new-age skills and expertise have gained paramount importance. Government bodies, including AICTE, have proposed to incorporate AI, ML, robotics and other similar courses in all engineering and other technology-based colleges as it will create a plethora of exciting new opportunities for professionals in the technology space.

Companies in the post Covid-19 era will prefer talent-based recruitment over skill-based which would include additional expertise in rational thinking, problem-solving skills, and ability to perform practical tasks. Upskilling and reskilling platforms are not only enabling professionals to stay ahead of the curve in a post-pandemic world and market themselves better for future job opportunities but are also pushing organisations to rethink their traditional hiring models and adopt a simple, more flexible approach to recruit top talent today, he said.

Harappa Education saw a sharp rise in people choosing to upskill online during the pandemic. It has become increasingly evident that not only young professionals, but older professionals too are transitioning to online learning to upskill, said its founder and CEO Shreyasi Singh. “Through 2020, we found that roughly 57 per cent learners on our platform belong to the 35-54 age bracket, making it evident that lifelong learning is here to stay,” she added.

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Published on February 09, 2021
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