Data from the Global Skills Index 2020 by online learning platform Coursera showed that India stood 34th in the world when it comes to business skills outperforming China which was at the 45th spot.
India lags in skills in the data science domain but is an emerging player in the business and technology skills. Data from the Global Skills Index 2020 by online learning platform Coursera showed that India stood 34th in the world when it comes to business skills, outperforming China which was at the 45th spot (emerging category).
Similarly, in the technology skills domain, India scored higher than China, taking the 40th spot (emerging category) scoring 34 percent. In the technology domain, China stands in the laggard category, ranking 50th globally and scoring 17 percent.
In the data science domain, however, China outperformed India. Here, China was the 35th spot globally in the emerging category while India stood at 51st in the laggard category.
Here the scores are represented in percentile terms, meaning the 60 countries are ranked against each other. A country that is at 100 percent ranks at the top of the 60 countries and a country at 0 percent lies at the bottom.
Cutting edge are those at 76th percentile and above. Competitive refer to 50-75th percentile, emerging is 26th to 50th percentile while lagging category is 25th percentile or below.
In simple, this refers to a country’s performance relative to others. So, if India is at the 34th percentile in technology it means that it is better than 34 percent of countries.India versus China
In the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, the Global Skills Index showed that India and China post similar figures in terms of skills mastery.
The report said that Asian countries are largely missing from the top 20 most skilled nations. The region’s overall technology and data science skills are lagging, with major skills deficits in mathematics, statistical programming and software engineering.
As per the report, lack of tech and data science skills across the region can be attributed partly to poor-quality STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education systems in many countries, which struggle to equip students with essential skills needed for employment.
“The need for stronger STEM programmes is heightened by APAC region’s brain drain, reducing the supply of skilled workers locally available,” the report added.
The Global Skills Index showed that in the APAC region, there is a stark contrast between developing and developed economies’ skills performance. While New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore have more resources per capita to invest in education and upskilling, developing economies —including Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the Philippines — are among the lowest skilled in the ranking.
India’s technology advantage
When it comes to technology skills, India has been positioned in the emerging category as per the Global Skills Index.
The report said India’s technology and business skills are essential to its behemoth IT industry. It added that the IT industry generated more than $137 billion in exports in 2019, and business leaders across the globe have established their own IT or R&D centres to take advantage of India’s software ecosystem.
The government’s efforts on skilling the youth have also been recognised by the Global Skills Index.
It said the Indian government has already introduced various programmes under its Skill India initiative to nurture highly skilled and employable Indian youth.
With the Indian workforce expected to increase 27 percent to 600 million by 2022, the report said the opportunity for India to become the global talent hub for emerging technologies cannot be understated.
But the report also cautioned about the threat of automation.
“Unfortunately, automation poses a major threat to many of the technology jobs, such as data collection and processing, that first attracted global companies to India,” it added.Why does this matter?
Data from Coursera showed that every skill proficiency percent gained in a country’s average proficiency (across domains) is associated with a $600 increase in per capita GDP.Further, the Global Skills Index report said that without a considerable investment in upskilling the workforce, many Asian workers will be devastated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and pervasive impact of the pandemic.
“The majority of work activity in Japan, India, and China is at risk of obsoletion,” it added.
Talking about the solutions, the report said governments in the APAC region must encourage public-private partnerships to identify the labour market’s unmet needs. It also said that the governments should develop curriculums, national standards, and implement cost-sharing mechanisms.How big is the coronavirus impact?The report said of the 200 million higher education students whose studies have been disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19), about 80 percent are located in countries with emerging or lagging skills.
With the sudden push to work remotely, Coursera has seen that digital skills are critical to short-term business operations. These include managing change and driving online services to automating processes that can no longer be done in person.
Also, the pandemic has increased the mental and emotional stress faced by individuals across countries.The report said uncertain diagnoses, looming resource shortages, growing financial losses, and the infringement of personal freedoms have undoubtedly contributed to widespread mental and emotional distress. Since the outbreak, Coursera said the demand from individuals for personal development courses, including stress management and mindfulness, has increased by 1,200 percent.