The Skill gaps in various sectors of the industry

Chairman and & CEO of Consolidated Construction Consortium is gung-ho about the spurt in business post recession. Having made inroads into top cities in India, the CEO is excited about the company’s international foray into West Asia. There is, however one big hitch – shortage of skilled laborers. We just can’t get people. And this is not a problem unique to our company. We’re genuinely at a loss. It’s become difficult to meet project deadlines.

These days masons, electricians and welders to retain in jobs. Clearly attrition is not a problem only restricted to white collar jobs in the IT industry.

Teamlease India Labor Report 2009 states that India’s demographic dividend will lead to a increase in population, which will jump from 1 billion in 2001 to 1.4 million in 2026. About 83% of this rise will be in the 15-59 years age group. This proves that India had a huge labor pool which if harnessed correctly will yield great dividends. But what is missing is the number of skilled workers. According to the Teamlease labor survey 89% of the work force in the age group has had no vocational training. Of the 11% who received vocational only 1.3% were formally trained. Compare this with South Korea’s 96%, Japan’s 80% or Germany’s 75% and you get an idea about the severity of the problem.

A Ficci survey carried out last year identified the skill gaps in various sectors of the industry. The shortage is especially acute in professions related to the manufacturing industry like welding fitting, CNC operations etc. The demand for these categories of workers is not just pinching the construction and real estate industry but also the facilities management and the manufacturing industry.

A few years ago, the basic requirement when considering a candidate was that he should have at least appeared for 10th standard board examination. But nowadays the problem is so acute that for one of our factories, we are recruiting anyone who can just about write their name. They will be trained of course.

The grooming industry is also reeling under this crisis. In some of the more consecutive sections of society there is an impression that hairstyling is a profession only meant for certain communities.

But the grooming industry is growing rapidly not just in metros but even in tier II and III cities. This is leading to a huge gap.

In the logistics business, the shortage of skilled workers especially trained drivers is hitting companies like Drive India Enterprise solutions (DIESL). The organized logistics industry is growing annually at 17% and the unorganized segment at around 10%.

Like in the case of hairstyling the public perception is that the above mentioned professions are not skilled intensive. However, these require very well trained and experienced professionals For example take wielding Welders are in great demand and it’s a very well paid job. In many places high skilled welders are paid Rs 30,000 per month and an additional Rs 1,000 for every joint they weld during this period. On an average they work on approximately 40 joints a month an so the remuneration as up to around Rs 70,000 per month, which is more than the salaries of many professionals in the organized. But due to low awareness and the resulting social acceptance it is not a preferred career choice.

The salaries are on their way up thanks to the shortage of workers leading to higher cost of execution, thus hitting the margins of companies. And with a demand supply mismatch attrition levels are high. The facilities management industry sees an average monthly attrition of about 15%

There are also the problems of retaining trained manpower since there are so many lucrative opportunities. There is great mobility in these jobs because of huge demand. Many workers who are trained for jobs in MSMEs are picked up by MNCs since they offer better pay. Many candidates with very specialized skills, like CNC operation, choose to work abroad at places like Malaysia and Singapore after getting trained here. West Asia is another lucrative market for electricians, plumber, housekeeping professionals grooming professionals etc.

The ineffectiveness of training institutes in India in terms of quality and capacity only adds to the problems. The national agency working at countering this problem, National skill development Corporation (NSDC) has a target of skilling or up skilling 150 million people by 2022 and so far three proposals have been cleared to train 10,39,000 persons in next NSDC would covers skills from the organized as well as from the unorganized sector.

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