India Inc. joins platforms for skill-upgrading to maintain talent

Reliance Industries Ltd, Deloitte, Citibank, PWC India, Tata Communications and Sun Pharma have tied up with training platforms, such as Coursera and UpGrad, as monetary benefits are not helping blue-chip companies retain talent, industry experts said.

Employees are being encouraged to develop skills in Python, artificial intelligence (AI), and leadership management to upgrade themselves and explore career opportunities, as cash benefits have not been successful in bringing down attrition rates.

As a result, customized course registration has increased by 100% over the past year. “Three years ago, it was open learning, and now it has progressed to guided learning. Department-, theme- and role-based courses are being provided. Role-based programmes are popular after identifying critical skills," said Raghav Gupta, managing director, India and Asia Pacific, Coursera.

While 90 firms used Coursera’s digital certification and training courses in 2021, last year, 150 firms were on its platform, including consulting and auditing firm PwC India, software company Birla Soft, and enterprise and telecom solutions provider Tata Communications.

Reliance Industries recently decided to offer Coursera’s business certification programme to the family members of its employees. According to the conglomerate, three family members are entitled to “free and unlimited access" to Coursera’s business courses, specializations, and certifications.

“Reliance employees will now have unlimited access to Coursera for business certifications from over 170 prestigious universities such as Carnegie-Mellon University, Yale University, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University, as well as organizations such as Meta, Google, SAP and Microsoft," according to an internal note on 28 December.

“There is 125% growth in the customer base of B2B clients in FY23 compared to a year ago. We expect 100% growth in customers in FY24," said Swapnil Kamat, co-founder, UpGrad Work Better, which provides edtech platform UpGrad’s corporate solutions.

The skillset development platform has seen high demand for soft skills and tech skillsets, as well as bootcamp programmes in alliance with universities from corporates. Citibank, Deloitte and Sun Pharma are some of its clients. “The pandemic bought legitimacy to online learning, and there was no break needed between courses. There is high demand for full stack development, AI, machine learning (ML), UX design over a 3-6-month course," said Kamat.

The push for online training comes amid high attrition and businesses digitizing processes, increasing demand for tech experts. After counter-offers or out-of-turn salary hikes impacted balance sheets, firms are now offering customized courses as a retention tool. Remote working has also pushed more demand for such courses. According to experts across industries, junior and middle management employees are signing up.

Online skilling platforms have tied up with universities and trainers and pursue a revenue-sharing mechanism to offer the courses. Coursera, for instance, adopted a 50:50 revenue-sharing model with content owners. UpGrad said it has about 5,000 trainers on its platform.