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3 out of 4 Indians fear technology will replace their jobs unless they upskill: Emeritus Global Workplace Skills Study 2023

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Technological disruptions are driving Indians’ increased desire to upskill, with as many as 3 out of 4 working professionals believing that technology will replace their jobs if they do not continue to develop their skillset, as per the recently released Emeritus Global Workplace Skills Study 2023 from Emeritus, a global leader in world-class professional education. With technological advancements shaping every sector, the World Economic Forum’s report in 2020 estimated that at least 40 per cent of the employees across the world would need “new skills” in the coming years and “would be expected to perform distinct roles within their companies”. About 92 per cent of the Indians, in particular, agreed that they face a skill gap regarding employability, as per a McKinsey Survey.

Pointing towards a future where continued education is the norm, the Emeritus Global Workplace Skills Study 2023 found that the professionals from Finance and Insurance, Software and IT services, Healthcare, and Manufacturing, among other industries are most concerned about technology replacing their jobs if they do not upskill. Most Indians expressed concerns around experiencing a skill gap and feeling pressure to keep up in the fast-changing job market.

With increasing technology penetration accelerating the demand for tech professionals in the country, over 80% of Software and IT services professionals surveyed expressed their concerns about technology replacing their jobs, unless they continued to upgrade their skillsets, as per the study. The same percentage stood at 81% for healthcare professionals, 79% for those working in Technology & Innovation, 78% for those involved in Professional Services/Consulting, and 72% among those from Finance and Insurance.

For the Indian workforce working in various sectors, digital marketing, data analytics, finance, management and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were among the most sought-after topics for the professionals, as per the study. This is visible from the demand and supply gap witnessed in these sectors. For instance, a recent report from the IT industry apex body Nasscom found that there is a 51% gap between the demand and supply of skilled AI/ML talent in India.

The third edition of the Global Workplace Skills Study 2023 was conducted by Emeritus through its extensive survey of 6,600 professionals aged between 21 and 65 across 18 countries, including India, US, China, UK, Brazil, Mexico, and UAE, to understand how the global workforce is leveraging online education to navigate through uncertain times. The study surveyed a total of 1,720 Indians aged between 21 and 65 years, hailing from across 20 tier-I and II cities in India. Some of the other key findings from the report include the following:

· Tech disruption across sectors is evident through professionals from across sectors taking a keen interest in honing their tech prowess. While a total of 94% of software and IT professionals and 93% working in technology and innovation took an interest in upskilling around tech subjects, 86% of manufacturing sector professionals also showed an interest in learning how they can leverage technology tools.

· Among those in Professional Services/Consulting, the interest to pursue higher education, as a result of the macroeconomic factors, stood at 85%, while for those in software and IT services, it stood at 77%. About 76% of professionals in manufacturing also took to further education to stay resilient against global changes.

· The need to increase self-confidence, increase their job security and enhance their skill sets, were among the key motives for Indian techies working in software and IT services to upskill. As a result of upskilling opportunities, Indian professionals also expressed satisfaction at the workplace. About 80% of the respondents said they would be more loyal to their employer if they invested in continued education.

· One in every three Indians from various industries was interested in pursuing further education to better comprehend opportunities and strategic implications of new technologies in their organisation.

Commenting on the sector-specific findings from the Emeritus Global Workplace Skills Study 2023, Mohan Kannegal, CEO, India and APAC, Emeritus, said, “We learn from Indian professionals across sectors that the fear of job displacement due to technological disruptions is a growing concern. However, it is encouraging to note that 83% of the Indian respondents are keen on upskilling through a reputable learning provider as it allowed them to achieve their career goals. We, at Emeritus, are glad to be part of this upskilling revolution that is helping create the workforce of the future, through our programmes which are structured to bridge the skill gaps.”

The surveyed Indian professionals hailed from diverse sectors such as Software and IT services, Finance, Insurance, Education, Manufacturing, Technology and Innovation, Healthcare, Engineering and Construction, and Retail, among others. The median age of the respondents was 39, with an average work experience of 12 years.

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