The Next Frontiers: Skilling and Employability Solutions for the Next Half Billion

By Team Omidyar Network India and RedSeer Strategy Consulting.

When India became the world’s most populous country this year, its massive, young workforce was propelled into the spotlight. At 28, the median Indian is a full decade younger than the median Chinese person. India has the world’s second largest working-age population, and its potential workforce will continue to grow until 2049.

With 960 million potential workers, this is India’s moment to unleash the power of its greatest asset—its people. The country is ready for an exponential leap towards creating millions of jobs; but to fully harness the potential of these workers, India must invest in enhancing the employability of its vast human resource pool to prepare for the economy of the future.

 India’s employability challenge is two-fold:

1.   Converting potential workers into active workers.

2.   Upskilling those in the workforce to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

3.   India’s Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) is low at 46% driven down in large part by low female work participation (27%). Simultaneously, there is an acute skills gap, exacerbated by the fact that most of the Indian workforce is in the informal sector, where opportunities for skilling are sparse.

 To tackle these challenges, this report explores the market for skilling and employability solutions for the vast pool of unskilled, low and moderately-skilled workers. The study includes a primary sample survey of 5,000 respondents of various cohorts with intersections of gender, income, and location. It also includes 100in-depth qualitative interviews of workers, 35 interviews of employers, and over 20 discussions with experts and entrepreneurs. We also identify pockets of potential opportunities for entrepreneurs, government, and non-profits to build solutions for or incentivise tech-enabled skilling and employment opportunities.

There is a role here for all three levers—‘Samaaj, Sarkar, Bazaar’ or ‘Society, Government and the Market’ to come together—to create jobs and substantially improve livelihood outcomes.

 You can either read the report below or download the report as a PDF here. Download the Executive Summary of the report here.