Paridhi Khaitan, Managing Director, ProTeen

Paridhi heads the ProTeen business with a focus on its global product vision, go-to-marketing strategy and B2C and B2B2C revenue channels. Paridhi has led the spin-out of the ProTeen research and product development initiative inside the UNIDEL group to build a company that is changing the way young adults make academic and career choices. Paridhi has a decade of experience spanning software product development, marketing and strategy across diverse sectors like Information Technology, Manufacturing, Automotive and Retail. Before joining ProTeen, Paridhi worked with global organizations like Infosys and Cummins. Paridhi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from Institute of Technology & Management (ITM) and an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis Centre for Management & HR Development.

 

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be more virulent than its predecessor and has not only cost the country more lives but has also driven it towards a financial and humanitarian crisis like never before. According to a report from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the number of employees, both salaried and non-salaried, fell from 398.14 million in March to 390.79 million in April. In January, the number of people employed in India was 400.7 million. While aviation, tourism, and hospitality were amongst the worst hit industries, others had to quickly adapt to the digital transformation happening globally.

Disruptions Due to Digital Transformation

In this new age of digitization and work from home ecosystem, many businesses shifted from being confined in a bricks-and-mortar building to a contactless, digital presence in an attempt to adapt to this new reality. Naturally, this realignment resulted in structural shifts and cost a lot of employees their jobs as companies began favouring technically competent and digitally skilled workforce. Employees were expected to be techno-savvy irrespective of their job profiles to adapt to the digital infrastructure that facilitated remote working.

The Emergence of the Skill Gap

Since the crisis was both sudden and unprecedented, one cannot be blamed for being unprepared to overcome the challenges that the pandemic brought to the table. However, India was already transitioning into the Industrial Revolution 4.0 where skills in Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Data Science had dominated sectors such as FMCG, Healthcare, Telecom among others. Where one side of the industry was furiously adopting these technologies and digitizing their processes, the other side of the industry remained completely oblivious. It is safe to assume that a demographic divide exists where the use of technology is limited to big cities, whereas the rest of the workforce still struggles with something as basic as operating a computer.

Conversely, technologists predominantly from the IT sectors, although digitally dexterous, lack the basic interpersonal skills to communicate and collaborate with their teams. No matter how digitally able, IT professionals struggle to demonstrate their true communication skills in interviews. This can act as a major hindrance in their growth opportunities as most IT jobs require professionals to constantly collaborate with different teams across geographical borders where communication barriers can silo teams and stifle their productivity.

Root Cause Analysis

These pitfalls and the lack of awareness can be traced back to schools and colleges that fail to recognize digital and interpersonal skills as a core fundamental competency. It has been often observed that most youth lack a holistic visibility into their chosen career paths. It is common to have overlooked the skill sets, the competencies, the changing dynamics in the said profession and be overtly fixated on the monetary aspects, the perks, scope, growth, or even travel opportunities that their chosen profession has to offer.

A lot of decisions are also highly influenced by societal and parental pressure. Needless to say, these uninformed decisions bring short-term benefits and any disruptions in their work-life tends to drive them into a state of conundrum.

In a rapidly evolving world like today, making an educated career decision and having a comprehensive understanding of the chosen profession is extremely critical for long-term job security. To make an informed choice, it is critical to discover oneself by correctly answering the following questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • Do you want to make a career of your passion?
  • Do you have the right skillsets to pursue this career?
  • What does the career landscape look like?
  • What are the right subject combinations that will give you a competitive edge?

While a simple google search on the internet can acquaint you with these answers, one may tend to be overwhelmed by the volume of information and opinions that exist out there. The confusion can do more harm than good to an individual’s decision-making process.

The Need for Expert Career Counselling to Bridge the Gap

It is advisable for someone making a career choice to get assistance from a highly experienced, independent counseling platform that can offer an in-depth analysis of the chosen career. Furthermore, gaining an expert opinion will help an individual deep dive into the changing dynamics of the chosen industry, its evolution, the impact it will have on the workforce, and the impending disruptions. This will help them devise a smarter career plan and make their future both rewarding and interesting. Accounting for these imminent changes beforehand, also helps them to be mentally prepared and therefore more accepting.

Apart from awareness, career counselling also helps an individual weigh his/her passion and interest against his/her aptitude and potential, thus providing them with a reality check before they embark upon their career journey. Also, having a thorough understanding of the career demands will incite them to proactively indulge in upskilling their profiles. A career counselling expert will be able to locate the most suitable, sought-after skillsets for an individual and help them become future-ready by honing 21st-century skills thereby propagating their career progression. Naturally, a company will fancy retaining an employee who has the relevant competencies and is well abreast of the industry trends over an equally experienced professional but lacking adequate skillsets and ignorant of the changing times.

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