LinkedIn for skill framework to help grade talent

National skill qualification framework organises qualifications according to levels from one to ten of knowledge, skill and aptitude

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As LinkedIn looks to grow its 33 million strong user base In India, second largest only after the US, the company is eyeing an integration with the National Skill Qualifications Framework (NSQF) which is looking at standardisation in skills of India’s workforce.

“It’s very important that everybody speaks the same language. Like a Plumber Grade 1, what does that mean as opposed to a JavaScript engineer? There’s certainly that standardisation taxonomy that needs to go in to assess each of those skills,” said Ganesan Venkatasub ramanian, Head of Engineering at LinkedIn India.

The National Skill Qualification Framework, a framework setup by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, organises all qualifications according to a series of levels — from one to ten — of knowledge, skills and aptitude.

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LinkedIn, which recently launched its first India-focused product that looks to digitise the process of campus placements, is evaluating an integration with NSQF that will aid recruiters to better assess candidates based on their skills.

With the growing focus on employability of graduates in the country, there’s a need for a standard way to define skills, says Venkatasubramanian,The government claims that the NSQF is a quality assurance platform where a learner can acquire the certification for competency needed at any level through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

When it comes to skill development in India, “right now the government is focusing on blue collar jobs because that’s where the mass is and that’s where they should start. But with things like NSQF, I don’t think it’s just blue collar jobs, it’s an overall framework that they’re coming up with,” he added.

While the NSQF is a broad spanning framework to help employers verify skills of candidates be it a plumber or MBA graduate, LinkedIn is still focusing squarely on white collar jobs. The social network is only available in English, which it claims is the language of business in India, and has no immediate plans to introduce local language support on its platform.

Students make up the fastest growing demographic for LinkedIn in India, which is pushing the company to roll out more student-focused products and features. Citing a study done by LinkedIn in the APAC region, Venkatasub ramanian says finding jobs are getting harder. “More than a third of the students (surveyed) said it’ll take them between one and three months before they find that first job,” he added.

There’s a massive mismatch in the skills being acquired by youngsters in colleges and those that are required at the workplace. While there is active collaboration between the government and the industry to revamp curriculum, going forward efforts such as NSQF will become more important. “The government has the ability to reach. It’s certainly possible to get feet on the street, but just to achieve scale I think technology can play a big part. Again, squarely the government is the one that has the right resources for that,” said Venkatasubramanian.

First Published: Nov 14 2015 | 10:41 PM IST

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