“Indian workforce is hardworking, honest, and responsible. India has the potential to become the world’s centre for a skilled workforce”, expressed Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Education Minister and Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.
“India’s 32 million-strong diaspora will use their skills and expertise to strengthen India’s potential to serve the global family”, added Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in the recently held 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas 2023 plenary session on ‘Enabling Global Mobility of Indian Workforce – Role of Indian Diaspora’.
Technological advancements, changing nature of work, pandemic induced digital acceleration, have all contributed to the evolving landscape of global mobility of the skilled Indian workforce. India has a distinguishing asset in the form of a large demographic dividend, therefore making global mobility of skilled workforce a key priority for the country.
What is global mobility and why is it important
Global mobility is a crucial instrument for promoting India’s development aims and leveraging the country’s demographic dividend. In simple terms, global mobility is the ability to move seamlessly from one country to another in both business and personal life. Unlike the situation in the past few years, the focus of global mobility is not only managing formalised and professional workforce, but also the unorganised but skilled workforce.
Global mobility of India’s skilled workforce in the backdrop of India’s G20 presidency
With India assuming the G20 presidency, it will work towards building a consensus among the G20 countries on developing a framework for assessing the skill gaps and harmonisation of skills qualification across these countries. This enables faster and easier skilled labour mobility at a reduced cost. It will also necessitate the need to address the existing skill gaps resulting from technological advancements, and advancing efforts focused on upskilling and re-skilling the workforce for global mobility.
Key aspects in global mobility of the workforce
Some of the key aspects of global mobility of the skilled workforce include –
- Governments’ mobility policies
- Availability of skilled workforce
- Understanding the demand in destination countries
- Workforce assistance in a smooth transition
- Necessary skill training in soft skills, language skills, etc.
- Cultural sensitization, among others.
Talking about one of the key aspects of global mobility of the skilled workforce, Ms. Seeta Sharma, Independent Expert on Mobility, says, “Trust across the entire migration cycle is one of the crucial aspects in global mobility. Starting from the level of trust between the governments, businesses, training partners, to industries to collaborate and work together is important. Technology can play a huge role in transparency, information flow and making systems efficient”.
Preparing the workforce for global mobility
To prepare the Indian workforce for global mobility, we need to ensure that the work done or the service provided by our workforce is of international quality, which means a quality that the world accepts.
“Industry should take up the role of a mentor. Apart from theoretical knowledge, and technical and practical skills, we from the industry should prepare the students on other crucial skills like soft skills, grooming, dressing well, and how one can come out as a professional. This will help students prepare well for the industry and also ensure their chances to move across globally”, said, Ms. Vidya Basarkod, Managing Director, Ramboll India and Director of Ramboll Engineering Centre.
Another indispensable aspect of global mobility is the participation of the women workforce. Key stakeholders should come together and contribute towards increasing the female labour-force participation ratio.
“If female labour-force participation is increased from 18 to 30%, the country’s GDP will rise to $9 trillion in a short period of time”, noted Mr. Nirmal Singh, Chief Convenor of India Skills Report and Founder & CEO, Wheebox.
India advantage in global mobility
Speaking of India’s advantage in global mobility, Ms. Mariko Ouchi, Specialist, ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, says, “Certainly, India has very a huge advantage in global mobility. Considering India has a large English-speaking population, who are highly skilled is an asset, as they significantly contribute to the economy of the destination country. Though Indians are strongly attached to their culture, they also easily adapt to the culture of destination countries”.
On the whole, global mobility of the workforce requires international collaboration, understanding global employment trends, preparing the workforce, understanding the common challenges and creating desirable global mobility strategies. This will ensure a smooth transition of workforce from one country to the other and thereby gaining mutually from global mobility.