#IndianExpressUpGradTalks: Ready for the Future…of Learning?

The first edition of UpGrad Talks with the Indian Express focused on what constitutes continuous learning and why one needs to constantly learn to stay relevant in light of changing trends. “Ready for the Future…of Learning?” was hosted in Bangalore, India, where Mr. Ronnie Screwvala, UpGrad and Mr. Shaji Vikraman, Indian Express were in conversation with Mr. Rishad Premji and Mr. Manish Sabharwal.
The Indian Express UpGrad Talks is a platform that hosts leaders, entrepreneurs and experts from different walks of life to focus discussions on inspirations, insights and hacks from people who have struggled and made it big in their chosen field.
You can catch the entire video feed of the session:

Ronnie Screwvala starts by giving wheels to the discussion on whether or not we should be satisfied and in this day and age, what should young professionals worry about? The topic of job losses hovers in the industry every decade or so and hence it is something that unnerves the millennial employee. Rishad Premji went on to explain that the lifecycle of a skill has shrunk immensely and the ones who don’t board the bus are left behind. Mr. Sabharwal had the following perspective on this, “The notion of a lifetime employment has now shifted to a taxi-cab relationship. If Fortune 500 companies have their average life expectancy of 15 years, how can you expect to spend a lifetime in an organisation?”

A regular paycheck is not a big priority for today’s workforce compared to learning new things and making full use of the available growth opportunities..

– Manish Sabharwal
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On the subject of how important it is to keep learning as an employee, Mr. Premji highlighted that our colleges don’t teach us competitiveness or the element of being in the real world and hence, our ability to learn soft skills becomes very important in long-term career growth. Upskilling can also be a difficult task for organisations to take up for their employees. Manish Sabharwal suggested a multimodal approach to universities so you can get a 3-month certificate, or a 2-year associate degree, or a graduate degree. The reason there’s no fluidity is that the system has too much regulatory cholesterol. He continued with the insight on how jobs created in a decade did not exist in the one before and this has been a trend since the 1950s.

I think the smartest people in life don’t get ahead. It’s the hard-working people who do.

– Rishad Premji
#IndianExpressUpGradTalks: Ready for the Future…of Learning?
All speakers unanimously agreed on the need to upskill with Mr. Sabharwal commenting: “Nobody can predict the future of jobs. Studies claiming to predict where the jobs will be 10 years later are no less than palm reading guesses”. He also added that repair, prepare and upgrade is always a better strategy to follow. He felt that though one does not know what will be the future of jobs, it is always better to prepare oneself.
The session concluded with a wide range of questions from the floor answered with deep insights. On the subject of fear of job losses, Rishad Premji had a positive take on it with the comment that technology is an enabler and should work with people instead of replacing them. Moving on to the topic of India’s current lot of sub-standard universities, Ronnie stated that our universities actually don’t prepare students for real-world problems and how to deal with them. Mr. Sabharwal added “India’s educational problems aren’t like climate change. They are fixable in a decade or so”.

Dreaming with your eyes open means being alert to challenges but refusing to let them stop you.

– Ronnie Screwvala
Some also worried that with the advent of online education, it becomes really difficult to identify which source is the best; to which Ronnie was of the opinion that the best way is to find the resources you are comfortable with. Over a period of time, you will learn to simplify and have your own algorithm to pick the best.
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The curtains were drawn on a positive note by Mr. Sabharwal as he mentioned that this is a great time to work in India and is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a great entrepreneur. Learning should never stop – create your own path with the available resources.
Looking to upskill, move to better career prospects and stay industry relevant? Head on to UpGrad and speak to our admission counselors for career guidance.

Why has the lifecycle of skills shrunken?

Today’s era is of accelerating technologies. Persons fascinated by the expeditious changes are no less than those who rebel. Thriving technology has brought as many opportunities as challenges. Opportunity to improve, both at an individual level as well as national level. Challenge to keep up with the improvements in the surroundings. To prolong or tweak the current worth of a person, upskilling is required. The skills that are of use today and possess high value will not be in the same state after five years. The University of Oxford predicted that approximately half of all jobs would go through a fundamental change. It implies that the call for personnel to work after this change will increase.

Why has the talent cycle in an organisation shrunken?

As per a renowned evangelist at an HR tech company, 70% of millennials pull out of their first job within the initial two years and the average number of jobs a millennial plans in the career cycle is 15-20. Even the attrition rate in the IT sector of more than 20% shows the current state of affairs. Better remuneration, more significant growth opportunities, career satisfaction, work flexibility, improper working environment, etc., are all essential factors in determining the employee turnover and attrition rate of a company. Another factor that is often overlooked is the sociocultural standpoint of millennials.

What are the cons of the Indian education system?

Education is a boon for those who receive it, but focusing on learning only is a bane. The Indian education system is said to put pressure on young minds from the start, possibly because of which every hour, at least one student attempts suicide. The lack of counsellors in educational institutions aggravates the problem. Students find themselves impotent with no one to speak to and seek guidance from. Providing new skills and sweetening the existing ones is not a trait in the Indian education system rendering 47% of engineers and 93% of MBA degree holders unemployable.

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