Organisations will now be looking to hire candidates who can bring distinct skills as well as fresh ideas and innovation onboard. Hence, the demand for job candidates with niche specialisations will soar, says Shailaja Patil
COVID-19 has completely transformed the market dynamics. On the brighter side, it has given birth to new business opportunities and revenue models. Organisations will now be looking to hire candidates who can bring distinct skills as well as fresh ideas and innovation onboard. Hence, the demand for job candidates with niche specialisations will soar. Colleges and universities can meet post-pandemic demand of industries and groom their students in this direction by integrating niche specialisations into their regular programs.
Some of the niche specialisations that are touted to gain momentum in the new normal scenario are:
Banking and Microfinance
The penetration of technology and awareness about digital transactions have increased in rural pockets. Tapping into this development, the government, NGOs and even corporates will tie-up with microfinance institutions for last-mile reach to villages and remote locations to transfer monetary benefits of social/CSR schemes. The operations of the microfinance sector differ significantly from traditional banking. A niche specialisation in this field can easily bridge the skill and knowledge gap between students and the microfinance industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Almost every industry is incorporating AI and ML technologies in their business processes to gain a competitive advantage. AI and ML will continue to break ground and find new applications in the future. Currently, there are barely a few higher education institutes which offer MBA or PGP in AI and ML as a blended specialisation. A huge surge in demand of people with AI and ML skills is expected, and hence, there is a dire need for niche specialisation courses in this domain.
Healthcare and Hospital Management
The pandemic has put a major burden on healthcare and hospital system. Even the countries with the best healthcare facilities are struggling to manage their capacity optimally, run their operations smoothly and maintain the quality of their services. As key learning from COVID-19, hospitals and healthcare institutes will now focus on addressing all these concerns and improving their processes. The number of hospitals and medical facilities will also rise to meet the shortfall in capacity. Students who have niche specialisation in healthcare and hospital management can pursue rewarding careers in operations, administration, customer service, public relations, audits, invoicing and other managerial roles.
Construction and Real Estate Management
Currently, the Indian construction and real estate industry primarily operates as an unorganised sector. The construction and real estate companies/brokers by and large have an upper hand over customers. There is also a lack of professionalism, transparency and ethics. As a result, most projects get delayed, resulting in customer grievances. However, highly-skilled and suave professionals can bring much-needed reforms in this industry. A niche specialisation in construction and real estate industry can empower students to explore careers in project management, estimation and costs and contracts and vendor management. Sustainable construction, sales and marketing and customer services are other areas where niche specialisation in this industry can fast-track career growth.
Digital marketing has established its firm foothold in the past five years, but it emerged as a lifeline during the pandemic. Organisations have realised that digital marketing can ensure business continuity even in the toughest times. While the number of online and offline digital marketing courses have witnessed a sharp rise in the past few years, the current supply is less than demand. There is an urgent need to offer more digital marketing specialisations. At the same time, these courses should be customised to suit the business requirements so that students can apply their learning in the real-world scenario without hiccups.
Niche specialisations are gaining momentum and here to stay. It’s high time that higher education institutes incorporate them into their curriculum to expand their offerings, benefit the students and meet industry expectations.
The writer is Executive Director ADITUS — Motion Institute of Management Studies