The Social Network

Social skills and digital literacy top the chart of “must-have” skills for new age employees. Experts tell Gauri Rane why?

Updated: Jan 14, 2014, 23:35 PM IST

Social skills and digital literacy top the chart of “must-have” skills for new age employees. Experts tell Gauri Rane why?
Post the global economic slowdown, both working professionals and students are eager to upgrade themselves in all the required skill sets. From having international qualifications to acquiring a global experience, candidates are tying up all the loose ends to increase their chances of grabbing good employment opportunities. “Corporate India is becoming more global and diverse as organisations across sectors are recruiting talents from various geographies,” says Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO, Randstad, India.

According to a recent Global Work Monitor Survey conducted by Randstad, social skills and digital literacy have become the top “must-haves” for employees. Tracking job seekers across 32 countries, the survey points out that, employers rate social and digital skills at 91 per cent each, education at 90 per cent and work experience at 94 per cent. Prasad Kaipa, CEO, coach and advisor, Kaipa Group, endorses this observation. “Education has become secondary to social skills, digital literacy and work experience because what we learn in schools and colleges lags behind in teaching us what is happening in the society right now,” he says. “The premium that educational qualification enjoyed over social skills and life skills has faded,” concurs Vaneet Gupta, oranisational development professional, Steel Strips Wheels.

So what could be the reason behind this shift?

According to Gupta, the 70s and 90s, which were more administrative in nature and required sound academic background have long gone. Today, huge investments have happened in the private sector that has led to a creation of global roles and jobs. These global roles demand that employees are able to communicate, work together and build relationships along with conceptual skills, he informs. Living in a `wired` or Wi-Fi world, technology has managed to connect a distributed workforce. “Qualities like digital literacy and netiquette which ensure that an organisation is working smoothly across time frames have become vital,” says Uppaluri Acceleration of knowledge and technology are responsible for this change, says Kajpa. “We have to know how to work with a diverse population with different interests and values, and have to do it virtually through skype, teleconferences and LinkedIn. This cannot be taught in classes,” he adds.
Is It Necessary?
Job requirements across sectors have become more demanding. There is a constant need to upgrade and revisit one`s strengths and qualifications. With about 11 million workforce getting added to the job market every year, India is a powerhouse of human resource for the world. “There is tough competition that results in high demand and expectation from the employees,” says Uppaluri.

Traditionally, people with better social skills have enjoyed better career growth. But now it has become a ‘must have’ skill. “If people are not team players, they have to endeavor to position themselves as subject matter experts or value creators in their own way, like for instance professionals who deal with the big data,” says Kaipa.