Skill development is no more a choice in any corner of the world. However, in spite of having the advantage of the ‘demographic dividend’, the percentage of the workforce receiving skill training in India is only 10% which is comparatively not as much if USA (52%), UK (68%), and Germany (75%) Japan (80%) and South Korea (96%) are taken into consideration. The underlying reasons are many. Primarily, according to the Human Development Index (HDI) value, all of the above nations mentioned are developed countries while India is still developing. India could learn a lot from these other countries to fill up the gaps in the existing programs.

One of the major problems faced in the USA is skill-gap. More than 7 lakh job roles went unfilled in 2019 as employers didn’t find employees with the necessary skills for the market. ‘Skill Gap’ refers to the massive pool of talent yet untapped or unexplored. More than unemployment, the USA faces underemployment and individual despair. The skill gap happens in the USA due to two major reasons: One being fresh school graduates searching for jobs and second when mid-aged people lose their jobs and try to get back into the industry. Mostly, in both cases, they lack the necessary skills. Often, school graduates don’t or can’t go in for the four-year college course, these ‘workforce-development programs’ come to the rescue. In the USA, they call these ‘economic strategies’ ‘Skill-Up’ programs. Some things that India could take inspiration from and adapt are defining geographic assets, identifying target professions, providing a hard proof or ROI (Return on Investment) to candidates for security, assessing and counseling learners before they start training.

“The only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills, everything else will become obsolete over time.” –Peter Drucker.


One of the biggest challenges that Japan faces is a declining population, therefore posing an inevitable risk of decelerating economic growth. The impact of this shift affects the demographics. The Japanese are working towards building strong regional ecosystems, creative innovative training solutions, and enabling individual skill development. Developing the right skills is the most important thing.  The greater challenge for Japan lies in making proper use of its talent. Many citizens have strong skills but for various reasons, they go unidentified in the labor market. Just like iron rusts, unused skills deteriorate with time. India has a powerful weapon –its own demographic advantage and if utilized properly, it wouldn’t be long that it rises up the economic ladder.

Korea has one of the best Skill Development systems and there is a lot to learn from them. It took them around 40 years to build a proper skill development system due to various reasons but the one they built was full-proof as it was aided with employment insurance including a placement service, skills, and training service, and unemployment assistance service. Their strategy of building up the prestige of vocational training and the “work first, study later” policy has helped their cause. The “work first, study later” policy, if implemented in India, could be a great incentive for lower to middle-income groups who want to pursue further studies but can’t due to financial constraints. Skill Development is a global challenge and a lot of countries have signed contracts and made partnerships in some form to exchange students. The international exchange would benefit everyone and finally aid in the economic growth of the country.

Shouma Banerjee 



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