Talent Dearth in the Development Sector

Much like agricultural and the industrial sector, the development sector is a vital division of the Indian economy. Humanitarian organisations enjoy the trust of the masses not only because they target sensitive and pertinent components like health, education, and poverty alleviation but also due to their not-for-profit feature. For this reason, the social sector has been growing – in everything but talent.

While the work of these organisations is almost universally cherished, there is a lack of leadership talent to channel and adequately manifest the proliferating projects. What this means for the division is that while it is picking up momentum, this increasing energy isn’t manifesting as increased productivity.

Why is the social sector growing?

For starters, monetary contributions to the development sector have grown exponentially in the last few years. On April 1st 2014, the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines’ of the Companies Act (2013) came into effect. This required the highest earning corporations to direct a minimum of 2% of their profits towards philanthropy. Post this regulation, capital has inundated humanitarian organisations across the country.

Furthermore, individual contributions are also on the rise. In 2011, Azim Premji donated shares of Wipro Ltd. worth ₹8,960 crore. Other High Net-worth Individuals (HNI) contribute to the social sector in a multitude of ways. Narayan and Sudha Murthy’s efforts towards health and sanitation have proved godsend to thousands of beneficiaries. Asit Koticha, Shiv Nadar, Grandhi Rao, Ratan Tata, Bhavarlal Jain, Naveen Jindal, and others donate appreciably towards education, women’s empowerment, human settlement programs, and other causes.

The Economic Times found that in 2016 alone, ₹70,000 Crore had entered the development sector – most through the aforementioned Act and HNI donations.

What is the effect of this growth?

The influx of monetary capital allows social sector enterprises to expand current ventures and/or initiate new ones. It also allows for employing preferable resources – material and human. This means that growth in the development sector has created a demand for human resources i.e. leadership talent to drive existing operations and ideate new ones.

Moreover, the expansion of this division of the economy has highlighted the need for a discipline of operations to which the other sectors adhere. Till the end of last century, the social sector in India had been spearheaded almost entirely by individuals with an urge to correct the malfunctions of society. With the implementation of the CSR guidelines and the normalisation of large HNI donations, philanthropic organisations have begun to function more like a collective sector and, therefore, are subject to greater answerability. Once again, a demand is engendered for leadership talent to fulfil this answerability.

Mere monetary sufficiency is not the key. If the developmental sector is to effectively conduct these funds towards fruitful work, the scarcity of leadership and talent in the division must be met.

How do we meet this demand?

A beacon of hope stands that the present body of students and new workers seems more than enthusiastic to participate actively in the development sector. Organisations founded by adolescents such as The Thrive+ and Parvaah are testimony to young adults’ growing interest in humanitarian projects. These organisations’ founding vision to further humanitarian causes and their not-for-profit nature prove that this demographic’s intentions are purely to foster positive change. The popularity of programs such as The Global Changemakers and Queens Young Leaders that encourage this interest are evidence that this trend is pervasive and enduring. Thus, adolescents – with their new world-views, fresh ideations, and zest – form a potent group to tap into.

What is crucial to remember is that enthusiasm and ideas are not always enough to lead social sector projects. The current circumstances of the development sector are unprecedented. Never before has India seen such large-scale investments allowing immediate expansion. This means that there is no framework to guide this change. Fortunately, it is not just the youth that is interested in joining the social sector. Well-settled business-folk also join the development sector. They bring with them administrative experience and professional acumen that young newcomers might not possess. Thus, the social sector needs professionals with corporate experience.

Workers transferring from the corporate sector cite two reasons for their switch – a yearning to give back to society and/or a relief from corporate pressures. It is crucial for organisations to weed out applicants expecting a relaxed environment since social work is anything but laid back. Therefore, while the necessity for skilled professionals cannot be denied, applicants’ intentions cannot be overlooked. The sector doesn’t just need numbers; it needs workers.

The development sector is at a crucial stage. The unprecedented ingress of funds has generated latent opportunities and avenues. These avenues cannot be explored till the dearth of leadership and talent is confronted. Absorbing the bracket of able youngsters and willing corporate professionals can address this hiccup.

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