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India Skill Report 2023: Findings on Talent Availability and Employability in Emerging Technologies

India’s economic ascent hinges on talent availability. Recent reports, like the Wheebox India Skill Report 2023 and Mercer’s “India’s Graduate Skill Index: 2023”, highlight positive employability figures, especially among youth and women, and growth prospects in technology-driven sectors. We discuss key findings from the two reports and the top growth sectors to 2030, before rounding up with some of the policy reforms undertaken by India.

SOURCE: India Briefing

India’s journey towards becoming a global economic powerhouse hinges on the untapped potential of its skilled workforce. Only then will it be able to take advantage of its demographic dividend.

The recently released Wheebox India Skill Report 2023, in collaboration with CII, Taggd, AICTE, AIU, Sunstone, Pearson, AWS, and The Economic Times, provides critical insights into the demand and supply of talent and hiring intent across the country. The report shows positive employability figures, especially among young people and women, and a renewed focus on skilling and women’s participation in STEM fields.

Mercer’s separate study titled “India’s Graduate Skill Index: 2023” reveals India’s employability figures in artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and technical roles. Both studies indicate that while development of the talent base has been positive, key gaps need to be addressed to bolster India’s prospects in the technology-driven future.

Strategic investments in skilling, infrastructure, and innovation will be necessary to reach the country’s aspiration of becoming a US$5-trillion economy by 2025.

Key findings: Talent availability in India in 2023

Positive employability figures

The India Skill Report 2023 reveals improvement in overall employability among young people, increasing from 46.2 percent to 50.3 percent this year. Additionally, the employable women workforce has risen significantly to 52.8 percent, surpassing the employability rate of men at 47.2 percent. This positive trend bodes well for India’s economic growth, as leveraging the nation’s demographic dividend could lead to doubling the GDP by 2030 from the current US$3 trillion+.

Women in STEM

Despite the encouraging employability figures, the report highlights the need for greater focus on women’s participation in STEM fields, where women’s representation globally stands at a mere 28 percent. The key to unlocking India’s true talent potential lies in training and skilling more women in technology. Initiatives promoting skilling, entrepreneurship, and market linkage support for women building tech-driven start-ups and businesses will be pivotal in achieving this objective.

Employability in AI and ML roles

The India’s Graduate Skill Index: 2023 report reveals a promising employability rate of 48 percent among Indian graduates in AI and ML roles. This finding underscores the presence of a robust talent pool capable of meeting the increasing demand in the cutting-edge technology sector. Backend Development, Data Science, Data Analysis, and QA Automation roles also demonstrate notable employability rates of 39 percent.

Non-tech roles and cognitive skills

The Mercer study indicates promising employability rates in non-tech roles, with Financial Analysts leading the way at 45 percent, followed closely by Human Resources Associates and Business Analysts at 44 percent and 45 percent, respectively. The report also highlights the growing significance of cognitive skills, particularly complex problem-solving and creative thinking, in the workplace.

Top technical skills in demand

Among the technical skills assessed, Applied Mathematics stands out with an impressive employability rate of 72 percent. Data Science, MySQL, and Oracle SQL also exhibit high employability potential at 57 percent and 54 percent, respectively. UI/UX developers play a vital role in user-centric design, showcasing a 36 percent employability rate, while software testing roles and front-end developers follow closely at 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

College tiers and employability

Interestingly, the Mercer study shows no significant difference in employability based on college tiers. Employability rates for Tier-1, Tier-2, and Tier-3 colleges stand at 46 percent, 44 percent, and 43 percent, respectively. However, employability for non-technical roles and skills remains higher across all college tiers compared to technical roles.

Top employable talents and cities in India

The India’s Graduate Skill Index: 2023 report identifies Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Delhi as leading regions for employable talent. B.Tech, MBA, and B.Com graduates are considered the most employable in these areas. Mumbai, Lucknow, and Mangalore stand out as cities with the most employable talent, while Bangalore, Chennai, and Delhi/NCR remain the most preferred cities for graduates seeking employment in India.


Manufacturing sector prospects amid geopolitical tensions

India’s robust manufacturing sector, contributing 17 percent to GDP and employing over 27.3 million people, holds significant potential. Growth of the Indian manufacturing industry could boost the global economy by over US$500 billion by 2030, helped by increasing moves to diversify industrial supply chains. The drone, solar cell, electronics, and automotive sectors are examples of where India’s indigenization efforts are working to expand local sourcing capacity. Most recently, the government has asked Tesla to replicate Apple’s contract manufacturing model, where its suppliers are creating capacity on Indian ground. On its part, the Cupertino-based IT giant has sought to diversify its manufacturing presence beyond China, and Apple suppliers are gradually expanding factory investments in India as a result.

Construction as key driver for rapid economic growth

Traditional manufacturing and construction sectors play a crucial role in India’s economic growth over the next decade. To achieve its objective of creating 90 million non-agricultural jobs, India’s GDP needs to grow at an average annual rate of 8.0-8.5 percent from 2023 to 2030. To achieve this, urbanization and smart infrastructure planning and connectivity initiatives will continue to be top priorities and incentivized for private sector involvement – boosting the construction sector.

Renewable energy capacity build

India aims to achieve a 50 percent share of non-fossil fuel energy and a renewable energy capacity of 500 GW by 2030. The low-carbon technology market could be worth up to US$80 billion, reinforcing India’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.

IT sector and electronics in a digital economy

Electrical equipment manufacturing plays a vital role in the “Make in India” and “Digital India” initiatives. With the AI market projected to reach US$100 billion and significant advancements in network technologies, the IT sector is poised for exponential growth. India’s existing talent pipeline and service capabilities are poised to take advantage of the next stage of growth and innovation.

Connectivity and mobility: Smart solutions for the future

The transportation sector is witnessing a rapid shift towards smart mobility and intelligent transportation solutions. Car-sharing, ride-sharing, and GPS technologies are projected to experience substantial growth.

Modernizing agriculture

India’s Agritech sector holds enormous potential, capable of achieving self-sufficiency in food production. A projected investment of US$272 billion by 2030 could lead to an US$813 billion revenue increase and create 152 million new jobs, making it the largest private sector enterprise in the country.

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