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Are Skills More Important Than Degrees?

High impact hiring
By Dainik Bhaskar

March 9, 2023


1 min read


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We all have heard enough stories about successful entrepenerus and CXOs without having  professional qualification and yet very successful. While degrees used to hold the key to success at companies, talent acquisition teams are now looking for candidates with a willingness to learn new skills and put their knowledge to use. If you do not believe in traditional education pathways, you can take comfort in knowing an alternative way of becoming professionally successful — by degree-agnostic professional advancement.

Developments in machine learning, automation, and artificial intelligence are changing the world, creating new roles across sectors. However, workplaces are failing to fulfil these roles due to a lack of adequate skills, which makes me emphasize more on pursuing reskilling and upskilling opportunities.

According to the India Skills Report (ISR), only 50.3% graduates are employable in 2023. On the other hand, skill-based roles are snowballing, and this is causing an ever-widening employability gap across a number of industries, including manufacturing, BFSI, and pharmaceuticals. At present, only 12% of the Indian workforce possess digital skills. But, therein lies the opportunity for professionals willing to go that extra mile for learning new-age skills and making themselves job-ready.

There are multiple institutions and companies facilitating this rising need for upskilling, through online and offline means, and the Edutech industry has seen a massive spurt in demand. Bootcamps have emerged who help people skill up like big ones including upgrad or early stage companies like Board Infinity.

This is not just it. Even in the space of higher education players like Sunstone Eduversity and many others act as the bridge between academia and corporates by skilling up people.

Msut read book ‘Can we be equal and excellent too’ by John Gardner ask the relevance of skills and quailifications beautifully! I say that now qualifications gradually are turning as reduntant as Heriditary priveleges mentioned by john in his book.

To conclude, if a degree and diploma, is not your cup of tea, in today’s times, not all is lost. You can choose an area of interest and get skilled in the most wanted skill that employers are searching for. But which are the skills that are currently in demand?

Skills in Demand

The massive scale of digitalization has increased the demand for tech professionals across tech and non-tech industries. According to our report Decoding Job Market in India 2023, DevOps, cybersecurity, data analysis, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing feature in the top 10 most in-demand skills as of today. Introduction of new technologies like blockchain and Metaverse has also opened a door full of new opportunities, and are valuable skill sets in today’ times.

The exciting part is that most of such courses can be learnt by professionals with non-science backgrounds, and companies have no apprehensions about hiring them too.

Further, it’s not just tech roles with upskilling potential– the scope is increasing across all roles and industries.

For instance, operations and supply chain management, design thinking, agile project management, product management, and digital marketing, are skills that hold immense value across every business.

Government of India’s SWAYAM portal offers free training in several such domains, and top institutes like IIM and SP Jain also provide dedicated certificate courses at reasonable costs, making them easily accessible.

What Is the Way Ahead for You?

A report by Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) revealed that the need for digital skills in India will grow nine times by 2025. 67% of recruiters today place more importance on a candidate’s skills and experience than their educational qualifications. Further, with the emergence of the gig economy, people will continue to gain ancillary skills and work remotely as gig workers.

I strongly believe that,  “A degree can support your hunger for learning, but constantly acquiring new-age skills will bring you more opportunities and success at work. Simply put that an assessment checks for your skills and not qualifications”

Therefore you prepare yourself for the tests. Dont fear them and as John Garner said ‘The tests couldnt see whether the youngster was in rags or in tweeds and they couldnt hear the accents of the slum’. So be ready and you can claim your future and your destiny !

So, the question I have for you is simple. Are you ready to embrace change and equip yourself with the necessary skills for these evolving and emerging roles? Your openness to learning and adaptability are key elements in setting up a successful career path.

Thus, keep learning and keep your skills relevant.

About the Author

Pankaj Bansal is the Co- founder of Taggd and Work Universe (a Fund investing in jobs and work tech). He is a non-executive director at Karmayogi Bharat (Capacity building or Civil Servants) and many other startups.

By Pankaj Bansal

Co-founder of Taggd and Work Universe