Key Findings From The Omidyar Report On Skilling And Employability Solutions For The Next Half Billion

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Almost half of India’s youthful workers are eager to gain new skills to advance their careers. This enthusiasm is seen in distinct segments, Report ‘The Next Frontiers: Skilling and Employability Solutions for the Next Half Billion’ by Omidyar Network India (ONI), an impact-focused investment firm, reveals that this enthusiasm is especially evident in moderately high-skilled blue/grey-collar workers under 30 (skilled aspirers), those working in low to semi-skilled jobs (tenacious strivers), and females under 30 pursuing or desiring to start home-based businesses (home-based entrepreneurs).

This project’s research was conducted in collaboration with Redseer strategy consulting. The study dives into the possibility of providing skill development and employment prospects for a sizable segment of unskilled, low-skilled, and moderately skilled employees in the Indian market. The research also emphasized the opportunity for entrepreneurs, government agencies, and charitable organizations to provide solutions or foster technology-driven skill development and job opportunities. It studied 580 million Indian employees needing skill enhancement and job assistance and identified groups with a strong willingness to upskill and invest in their talents, possibly benefiting 230 million people.

Insights from the report are:

  • Adding 100 million workers to the workforce can grow GDP by 20%, propelling India’s economy over the $4 trillion milestone.
  • The report highlights a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs in a market of 100 million young workers looking for skilling solutions. Among the sectors keen to learn new skills, a sizable proportion are likewise eager to spend financially.
  • 73% of skilled aspirants and 59% of home-based entrepreneurs, in particular, are willing to pay for skill development that promises more excellent job prospects, stability, and growth chances. Among competent aspirants, 45% of males are interested in entrepreneurship, while 33% of women choose to advance in their current roles. These divisions represent untapped potential that may improve employability and benefit a sizable portion of India’s workforce.

Persona identification and priortization:

The section that follows presents actionable insights for each persona. Furthermore, there are outstanding and inspiring examples of entrepreneurs and nonprofits developing in the Indian job market to contribute to skilling and employability solutions, and learning from their experiences can help strengthen solution efforts.

  • Hesitant Aspirers are unemployed women who want to work but cannot do so because of social norms. By entering the job market, the Hesitant Aspirers seek to gain financial independence while moving beyond the constraints of social/societal norms.
  • Home-based entrepreneurs are predominantly women who manage household responsibilities while pursuing entrepreneurial ventures from their homes. This group comprises approximately ~30 million individuals and demonstrates a high willingness (59%) to invest in skilling.
  • Since Skilled Aspirers are already employed, they are well-poised to transform their careers by acquiring incremental skills to enhance their incomes and expand their career opportunities.

Employability – Skill Gap and Development

According to the report, the gap between skill needs and willingness to spend on learning such skills represents a $1.5 billion to $2 billion (12,570 crore to 16,760 crore) opportunity for entrepreneurs to find solutions. Notably, entrepreneurs can contribute to skill development in crucial areas such as core company management abilities, digital marketing, communication, and advanced vocational skills.

Through skill enhancement initiatives, governments and charitable groups have the potential to close the employability-skills gap for around 130 million people. According to the survey, while specific sectors show great interest in learning new skills, their willingness to spend financially on learning opportunities could be much higher. As a result, entrepreneurs and profit-driven projects eliminate these categories from the pool of potential customers.

The survey has also contributed to a better understanding of the nature of skilling capabilities and employment prospects accessible for various personas and individuals across intersections. These intersections were valuable in studying nuanced distinctions at several levels of the study, resulting in an exact solution framework that strives to capitalize on the increasing workforce’s prospects. Furthermore, this paper offers replicable successful models and actionable suggestions for those creating and implementing solutions.

80 million Tenacious Strivers, primarily from the deprived strata, cannot pay for skilling and employability support. At the same time, 50 million Stability Seekers are unwilling to pay for skilling. Governments and nonprofits can play a significant role in building a supportive, enabling and facilitating role here. The government can play a crucial role in significantly augmenting skill training capacity and quality, implementing schemes that improve access to capital for small and informal businesses and implementing the skills stack as public digital infrastructure that becomes a vital enabler for the skills and employment ecosystem.

To tackle these challenges, the government and nonprofit entities can bridge the disparity between the desire to acquire skills and the readiness to invest. This can be achieved through initiatives like:

  • Subsidized skill development programs
  • Bolstering apprenticeship initiatives
  • Providing capital support programs.

Moreover, policy reforms in areas such as paid childcare and parental leave can significantly contribute to the inclusion and retention of workers within the employability spectrum, particularly among women seeking to enter or continue in the workforce.

About Omidyar Network India:

Omidyar Network India invests in ambitious entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, particularly the hundreds of millions of Indians in low- and lower-middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the present middle class. The company collaborates with corporate, nonprofit, and public entrepreneurs to tackle India’s most challenging and chronic problems to generate empowerment and impact at scale.

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