Despite accelerated digital transformation, India continues to witness a digital skills gap, according to Coursera's latest Global Skills Report 2021.
More learners are opting for online learning to arm themselves with the skills of the future. While Indian learners are relatively more adept at digital skills like cloud computing and machine learning, there is a significant skill challenge across the three key domains.
Overall, India ranks 67th globally with 38 per cent proficiency with mid-rankings globally in each domain, number 55 in business and at number 66 in both technology and data science.
In Asia, India ranks low -- placed at 16 -- ahead of countries such as the Philippines and Thailand but below others like Singapore and Japan.
The study draws on performance data since the pandemic's onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries.
Digitally skilled workers represent only 12 per cent of India's workforce, and the number of employees requiring digital skills is expected to increase nine-fold by 2025.
Experts believe national upskilling initiatives can unlock the country's potential to achieve a much faster pace of economic growth and improve employment rate.
However, workforce displacement due to the subsequent waves of the pandemic is compounding the existing gap.
"The pace of skills transformation is slower than the pace of digital transformation in India, as is the case in several countries across the world," said Raghav Gupta, Managing Director for India and Asia Pacific at Coursera.
"Learners must invest in both soft and technical skills to prepare for jobs of the future," he said.
The report says India must focus on building key data skills despite strong foundational skills like machine learning and mathematics. As demand for data scientists outstrips supply worldwide, the country is also grappling with a shortage of data science professionals.
Coursera's Global Skills Report 2021 indicates that Indians have 52 per cent proficiency in machine learning and 54 per cent in mathematical skills.
However, there is significant room for improvement in two key skills for digital transformation -- data analysis and statistical programming, ranked only at 25 per cent and 15 per cent skills proficiency respectively.
Significantly, India shows evidence of evolving gender dynamics as women adopt online learning at one of the fastest paces globally.
The share of overall Coursera course enrollments as well as in STEM courses from women learners saw an unprecedented increase. The former increased from 25 per cent pre-pandemic to 35 per cent in 2020, accounting for the fourth highest increase globally.
The share of STEM course enrollments -- which constitute many foundational digital skills -- by women learners in India grew from 22 per cent pre-2020 to 33 per cent in 2020, the second highest increase globally.
However, an overall learner-share of 37 per cent (women), emphasises a gap in access to online learning. .The report indicates that skills needed for high-demand entry-level roles can be developed in a matter of months, not years.
With 77 million learners, 6,000 institutions and more than 5,000 courses from the world's leading universities and industry educators, Coursera has one of the largest data sets for identifying and measuring skill trends.
This year's report is further enriched by the pandemic-driven trends, including 30 million new learners who joined the platform in 2020.
( With inputs from ANI )
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