Digital skills more critical than academic qualifications: Survey; Online buying lags

News View reports on the Salesforce survey which shows the vast majority think digital skills are more important than education qualifications or career background

digital skills in workforce, Salesforce survey, online buying
While 9 in 10 Indian workers report using digital skills in their day-to-day work, only 1 in 4 workers currently use AI skills in their day-to-day roles

Indian employees believe digital skills are more important than educational qualification

Salesforce, the global leader in CRM, on Thursday (May 11), released data from its new digital skills survey of 1,000 workers in India, which shows that the vast majority think skills are more important than education qualifications or career background.

Yet, only 4 in 10 Indian employees are using AI in their current role — which is cited as one of today’s most in-demand digital skills. Today’s results form part of a global survey of 11,035 working adults across 11 countries.

89 per cent of Indian workers consider skills-based experience more important than a degree or industry-specific qualification when trying to land a job in today’s market. However, there is a disconnect between the skills companies need and those currently used by the workforce.

Only 1 in 4 use AI skills at work

While 9 in 10 Indian workers report using digital skills in their day-to-day work, only 1 in 4 workers currently use AI skills in their day-to-day roles and just over half (52 per cent) report using skills beyond digital administration. There is less fear and more excitement around the potential of emerging technologies to transform future jobs.

This, paired with workers’ reported desire to learn new skills, suggests that companies can help close the digital skills gap by providing continuous, skills-based training to their employees. With AI technologies like generative AI emerging fast, 93 per cent of Indian workers reported excitement about the prospect of using generative AI for their job. In India, 91 per cent say that their company is considering ways to use generative AI.

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Indian workers agree that AI skills are important. Almost a third of workers (29 per cent) rank AI skills as among the top three most important digital skills right now, rising further when asked about the importance of these skills over the next five years. Despite its importance to their future skill set, only 4 in 10 Indian workers say their day-to-day role involves AI.

Other digital skills

A mere 34 per cent say their role involves other related digital skills like encryption and cyber security, and only 27 per cent claim to use coding and app development skills.

Which industry uses AI skills more?

The industry indexing the highest for AI skills is travel and tourism; however, even for this industry, only 67 per cent use AI skills within their roles today. Outside of travel and tourism roles, this number drops further; 21 per cent of those in the public sector and 25 per cent of those in healthcare report they use AI skills in their day-to-day role.

The path forward is upskilling. All Indian workers surveyed believe businesses should prioritise AI skills in their employee development strategy. As a result of the rise in AI and automation, Indian employees say data security and ethical AI and automation skills will become increasingly more important in the workplace.

When asked what ‘soft’ skills will likely be more important as a result, employees ranked customer relationship and creative skills as the highest. With workers wanting to expand their limited digital skills, they are now favouring companies seeking to boost emerging technology skills and focus on skills-based hiring – nine in 10 believe that businesses should prioritise digital skills development for their employees.

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Online buying begins to lag

Meanwhile, according to various surveys, the growth of online shopping has become sluggish because of a slowdown in consumption and a drop in discounts. Beauty, personal care, and smartphones, previously the foundation of e-commerce sites, have decreased in volume. At the same time, electronic peripherals and audio reported a 36 per cent gain and fashion posted over 20 per cent growth.

What it implies: Mall visits by shoppers have increased over the past six months, as offline shopping becomes more popular. Additionally, spend-driven acquisitions are slowing down, and fewer discounts are being offered.

Another development in the e-commerce industry is that NPS (Net Promoter Score) has gained popularity, replacing GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) as the preferred statistic. Gross merchandise volume (GMV) looks at the total sales dollar value of sold merchandise. It’s a crucial metric for marketplaces, though revenue is still the top indicator of value. Net Promoter Score (NPS) tracks customer satisfaction by subtracting detractors from promoters.

An NPS over zero is good, and an NPS of 50 or more is excellent, according to Reforge, a career solution provider.

Ola valued at $4.8 billion, down by one-third

The US-based global investment management company, Vanguard Group, has reduced the valuation of ANI Technologies to $4.8 billion. It holds a 0.7 per cent share in ANI Technologies, which owns Ola.

What it implies:  According to reports, Ola plans to sell off its ride-hailing business and focus only on its EV firm, which might impact its valuation further. Even though Ola Electric is currently the top provider of electric two-wheelers in its industry, regulatory barriers remain significant. There are also plans not to extend the FAME-2 incentives for electric two-wheeler manufacturers following reports that the EV makers had been violating the localisation norms and claimed fraudulent subsidies.

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MG Motor plans to Indianise local operations

MG Motor, owned by Shanghai-based SAIC Motor, plans to divest more than 50 per cent share to Indian companies.

What it implies: MG Motor’s market share in India is in the single digits, but it plans to make the company mostly owned by Indians. It clearly shows that it wants to move away from being seen as a Chinese company, as the current government is not too favourable to those with Chinese roots.