Indian Campus

IEUpGrad talks: Education system doesn’t have fluidity due to regulatory cholesterol, says Manish Sabharwal

“In the next 12-18 months, having skills in the new-age space will matter. Skills in itself is a big differentiator,” said Premji.

The Indian Express and the UpGrad held an event on Saturday titled ‘Ready for the Future…of Learning?’ where Wipro’s Chief Strategy Officer Rishad Premji and Chairman of TeamLease Services Manish Sabharwal shared their respective point of view on the future of learning.

Speaking with Ronnie Screwvala and Shaji Vikraman, Rishad Premji stressed on the need to constantly upskill and upgrade to improve employability in the corporate sector. “I can’t think of one sector today where upskilling isn’t required to move ahead. I think its an ability to constantly upgrade. How do people leverage that and use that is very important,” said Premji.

Talking about requisite skill sets needed to be more employable in the fast-paced job market, Manish Sabharwal said a growth mindset is much more important than technical knowledge. He also said that soft skills are hard to measure but that’s where the wage premium is moving. “Growth mindset is for people who believe the brain is a muscle and can be worked out. Fixed mindset are people who think brain is like a given shoe size,” said Sabharwal. 

“In the next 12-18 months, having skills in the new-age space will matter. Skills in itself is a big differentiator. Having problem-solving, analytical skills are very important. But the life-cycle of skill sets have reduced to a great extent,” said Premji.

On employment, Sabharwal said it has shifted to being a lifetime contract to a taxi-cab relationship, adding that it’s hard to predict where jobs will be 10 years down the line. “Studies claiming to predict where the jobs will be 10 years later are no less than palm reading guesses,” he said.

The IT sector is also undergoing a massive transformation in terms of hiring. Premji said nowadays the IT industry is hiring more non-technical people into mainstream jobs. “The IT industry is hiring more non-technical people in mainstream jobs, so it goes to show how the nature of job is changing from being pure technical to involving other aspects.” But Premji cautioned that if someone is not going to genuinely upskill themselves, they are going to be left behind in the race.

As for the education sector, Premji said this is a time of massive change and it’s a great opportunity for people. But he also lamented that Indian universities don’t really prepare students for the real world. Sabharwal was much sharper in his criticism of the education sector when he said that fluidity is not there in the education system because there is regulatory cholesterol.

At the end of the discussion, when asked what’s a good practice to hire the best employee for the job, Sabharwal gave a witty one-liner. “The only way to find your best employee is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince.”