Companies are continuing to keep their focus on edtech platforms even as consumer interest ebbs. A need to upskill employees to match rapid digital transformation has driven businesses across India to turn to firms such as Coursera and Udemy to train workers.
Courses in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other advanced technologies are often the most sought after.
For instance, Coursera said the platform has seen a 50% jump in the number of business learners in India as of the June quarter. Courses in Python, UX design, cloud fundamentals, and agile software development are some of the top subjects among business users.
Edtech platforms offer a variety of courses. Coursera, for instance, has 10 to 15-hour courses where employees learn emerging technologies like AI, ML, and data analytics. It is offering short-form learning as well, to “help employees learn skills in 10 or 30 minutes”.
“The emerging new-age technologies are altering the job market as we move towards a more automated future. To stay ahead of the curve, professionals need to continuously upskill themselves,” said Vinay Pradhan, country head, India and South Asia, Udemy Business. The company has seen a doubling of revenue from the B2B segment in the June quarter compared to a year earlier.
“There is so much growth that is happening in IT services because of the pandemic and digital transformation that the need for learning emerging technologies is extremely large. Companies are increasingly investing in providing upskilling courses to employees,” said Raghav Gupta, managing director, India and Apac, Coursera.
He also noted that most startups are technology oriented and continue to invest in enhancing digital skills of their staff. “Many of them are telling employees to subscribe and learn on the platform and then reimburse them,” he added.
Further, industry experts also said that upskilling workers is a lot more cost-effective than hiring people that are already proficient in the required skills, and studies have shown that it also helps companies retain workers. The Microsoft Work Trend Index Pulse Report, published on September 29 for instance, said 90% of workers in India thought they would stay at their company longer if they had learning opportunities, against a global average of 76%.
That said, not all employees are happy with such learning programmes and many think that they don’t gain from them. “Lack of planning and poor coordination with a third-party training company made the training to build an Iot solution a disaster. The modules were poorly designed and use cases were not well defined. They kept the programme during weekends, disrupting work-life balance and adding to the stress and frustration,” said a software developer working at a mid-sized IT firm in Hyderabad, requesting anonymity.
Global workforce analytics firm Cornerstone’s 2022 Global Skills Report, published on 4 October, showed that only 55% of surveyed workers had confidence in their company’s skill development programmes. “Companies want employee upskilling programmes to be good enough for them to get more projects from end customers, but it cannot be so good that employees become valuable and find better employment elsewhere,” said Santanu Paul, chief executive at TalentSprint, a tech learning platform. He added that the motivation level among workers is high when the programmes are of very high quality with a lot of depth, which is often not the case. “When companies negotiate with course providers, they are trying to optimize the cost per employee,” he noted.
“Organizations must measure the real-world applicability of their training by tying training goals and topics directly to company goals,” said Darlene Engoglia, senior director, Global Human Resources, Park Place Technologies.