In 2018, India’s working-age population (15-64 years of age) surpassed the dependant population (below 14 or above 65 years), for the first time. This “demographic dividend” of our working-age population will last till 2055, almost four decades. Many observers have looked at this “demographic dividend” as the beginning of a long period of productive, progressive development for the country.
At the same time, The Manpower Talent 2018 study showed that 54% of employers report talent shortage in India across sectors. If one takes a look at only the engineering sector, according to The National Employment Report by Aspiring Minds, fewer than 5% of job applicants for engineering-related jobs in India possess good coding skills. A sizeable 38% of Indian software engineers cannot write usable code, compared to 10% of Chinese engineers and 4% of US candidates. The increasing adoption of automation and artificial intelligence technology has exacerbated the situation because only 2.5% of Indian engineers possess relevant skills in artificial intelligence, data engineering or wireless technologies.
Combined, these statistics point to the fact that our education and skilling system has much work to do before we can begin to harness the full potential of India’s demographic dividend to achieve concrete results.
Despite inadequate educational and skilling outcomes, students pay large sums for their degrees and certification, spending on average, between Rs 1,00,000-4,00,000 per annum for 4-year engineering degrees. This education is usually funded through family savings or loans. Despite spending such large amounts on a degree, most students struggle to find jobs for years after they graduate.
This is a vicious cycle – a large mass of students pay exorbitant fees for a degree, are untrained in relevant skills and technology, and are therefore unemployable to employers who have jobs to spare but a small pool of talent to hire from.
Masai School offers an innovative solution to break this cycle. A career-focused coding school that provides relevant job-focused training and exposure to unemployed graduates of engineering or non-engineering colleges or working professionals with 1-2 years experience, Masai School also places them in reputed partner organisations. Led by a group of deeply committed co-founders, Prateek Shuka, Nrupul Dev and Yogesh Bhat, Masai School’s model focuses on holistic learning by teaching software engineering skills and building problem-solving acumen and life skills, including confidence and communication, to make their students employable and relevant as per industry standards.
In the spirit of greater ownership and accountability, Masai School follows an Income-Sharing Agreement (ISA) model where students can opt to enrol for free and thenpay Masai only when they get a job with a salary equal to or above the minimum threshold guaranteed by the program.
This model ensures that the training is at all times up-to-date and focused on employment outcomes while lowering the entry barrier for students who cannot afford expensive courses and degrees. Given the complete alignment of interests between the students and Masai, students rate Masai with industry-leading NPS and this positive word of mouth about the company helps them grow rapidly through organic customer acquisition.
While still a young company, Masai’s reputation as a high-quality, mission-focused training provider has gained significant strength and resulted in large demand from students eager to upskill themselves and become workforce-ready. Masai School’s intensive ‘bootcamp’ style of training started by making young students job-ready for entry-level jobs within the technology, IT and engineering sectors. It further expanded its offering to include upskilling programs for professionals with prior experience but in need of learning skills such as android app development and back-end / full-stack web development.
Over time, Masai’s bouquet of course offerings will keep expanding, based on the real-time needs of employers for candidates with new-age digital skills. Cloud computing, Internet of Things, blockchain, ML & Data Science, Cybersecurity, Social and Mobile media are some examples of new-age digital skills. According to a 2019 report by NASSCOM, the demand for these new-age skills will rise at ~35% CAGR through FY’19-23 eventually employing ~2.5m skilled workers in FY’23 in India.
This presents a significant range of opportunities across the spectrum of skilled employment. For students from the Next Half Billion segment. Masai School offers a unique proposition. To enrol, there is no need for engineering education or even a prior background in coding. All that is required is basic computer literacy and the willingness to work hard. This creates access for students coming from diverse education backgrounds, especially those who cannot pay for expensive degrees such as engineering.
Masai School’s outcome-oriented model and innovative pedagogy and curriculum, which perfectly aligns incentives across students and the training provider, are innovating a new workforce-readiness education philosophy. Already, the Masai School model is allowing those joining India’s workforce to train themselves and seek jobs that are aligned with their aspirations and ambition. This sets a virtuous cycle in motion so that Indian employers will have access to a workforce that is better skilled and able to truly contribute to the overall growth and productivity of their industry and sectors.
Masai School has the potential to make a significant contribution towards translating the nation’s demographic dividend into a skilled and future-ready workforce capable of ushering in a new era for India. This is Why We Invested.
Omidyar Network India invests in bold entrepreneurs who help create a meaningful life for every Indian, especially the hundreds of millions of Indians in low-income and lower-middle-income populations, ranging from the poorest among us to the existing middle class. To drive empowerment and social impact at scale, we work with entrepreneurs in the private, nonprofit and public sectors, who are tackling India’s hardest and most chronic problems. We make equity investments in early stage enterprises and provide grants to nonprofits in the areas of Digital Society, Education, Emerging Tech, Financial Inclusion, Cities & Innovation and Property Inclusivity. Omidyar Network India is part of the Omidyar Group, a diverse collection of companies, organizations and initiatives, supported by philanthropists Pam and Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay.