Coursera Global Skills report: India still lags in data skills

online read
online read

More and more Indian learners are going online to acquire new skills in order to be prepared for the future. Over 5.7 million Indian students enrolled in Coursera with this goal in the last year, the edtech giant reported. Despite the increase in enrollment, Coursera’s most recent Global Skills Report 2021 notes that India continues to face a digital skills gap. The study analyses performance data from more than 77 million learners on the platform since the pandemic began to determine proficiency in business, technology, and data science across more than 100 countries.

While Indian students are relatively more adept at digital skills such as cloud computing and machine learning, the report reveals a significant skill gap across the three critical domains. India is ranked 67th globally (38 percent proficiency), with rankings in each domain ranging from 55th in business to 66th in technology and data science. India is ranked 16th in Asia, ahead of the Philippines and Thailand but behind Singapore and Japan.

According to AWS, digitally skilled workers account for only 12% of India’s workforce, but the number of employees requiring digital skills is expected to more than double by 2025. According to the WEF and PwC, national upskilling initiatives have the potential to significantly accelerate India’s economic growth and improve its employment rate. However, workforce displacement as a result of subsequent pandemic waves exacerbates the existing gap.

Key insights –

  • 1. Cloud Computing is India’s strongest technology skill with 83% proficiency
  • 2. India must focus on building key data skills, despite strong foundational skills like machine learning and mathematics
  • 3. India shows evidence of evolving gender dynamics as women adopt online learning at one of the fastest paces globally. The share of overall Coursera course enrolments as well as in STEM courses from women learners in India saw an unprecedented increase. The former increased from 25% pre-pandemic to 35% in 2020, accounting for the fourth highest increase globally. The share of STEM course enrolments by women learners in India grew from 22% pre-2020 to 33% in 2020, the second highest increase globally.

Based on the performance data of millions of learners on Coursera globally, the report also reveals the skills and time required to prepare for entry-level roles:

1. Recent graduates and mid-career changers can develop entry-level, digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (or 1-2 months with 10 learning hours per week). On the other hand, someone with no degree or technology experience can be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours (or 2-6 months with 10 learning hours per week);
2. The most transferable skills across all future jobs are in human skills like problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management;