Millennials Bridging the Skilling Gaps in Industry 4.0 – Part III

Millennials Bridging the Skilling Gaps in Industry 4.0 – Part III

Read Part II - Digital Enterprise Suite from Siemens 

(In this part we look at the impact of Industry 4.0 going ahead in the context of the millennials who will be joining the workforce and will shape the future)                                                                                                                                     

In Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’, I came across two interesting observations. First is the list of 75 all time richest people in the world including names like Sultan of Brunei to Queen Cleopatra, Bill Gates to MukeshAmbani. Of these 75, there are 25 names form the US. And among these 25 names, 14 are born in a gap of 9 years from 1832 to 1840. Some of these among the 14 are John Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan.

The second example is of Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, Vinod Khosla. All were born in 1955.

One definite commonality that we can draw among these two groups of people is during the times of their successes there have been the influence of an Industrial Revolution.

For people born between 1832 to 1840 it was the Second Industrial Revolution. For people born in 1955 it was the Third Industrial Revolution.

In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution the group to have the most impact are the millennials born in the window of 1985 to 2000. They are the age group coming into the workforce during Industry 4.0.

Some of the underlying transformational technologies influencing Industry 4.0 are:

  1. Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality
  2. Advanced Robotics
  3. Additive Manufacturing
  4. Cloud Computing and Big Data
  5. Data Security
  6. Artificial Intelligence and IOT
  7. Automation of Knowledge through Machine Learning
  8. Autonomous Systems
  9. Blockchains
  10. Genetics and Nano Technologies

Especially for students keen to work in cutting edge technologies these are some of the areas to focus. These technologies have helped organizations to solve engineering problems beyond the realm of reality. The NASA Curiosity Rover successfully landed on the Martian surface in 2012. It weighed 900 kgs, travelled inter-planetary for 352 million miles over 253 days maneuvering an extraordinary Entry – Descent – Landing. Only way the NASA scientists could design and validate was by simulating in a virtual environment using some of the technologies as highlighted above.

With the advancements and developments of new technological arenas one of the biggest challenge for countries and organizations is having the right talent. Many countries in their education initiatives have started focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Mathematics). As per the World Economic Forum report, ‘Future of Jobs’ most of the in-demand opportunities or specialties in industries did not exist 5 to 10 years back. The report highlights that the biggest driver of change in employment is technological. It further predicts that the maximum growth in job opportunities will be in STEM related fields.


In terms of talent in STEM globally, Germany has the highest rating basis the survey from Deloitte Global in 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index. It further observedone of the possible reason is in the German education of dual system, combining class room trainings with work experiences.

Manufacturing in India is the largest employment sector. India came up with the ‘Make in India’ initiative to bring up the manufacturing contribution to GDP from the current level at 16% to 25% by 2020. This is expected to create 100 million additional jobs in the manufacturing sector by 2022.

By 2021 India will become the youngest country in the world with 64% of its population being millennials. Average age of an Indian in 2020 will be 29 years. All millennials are digital natives. They will be taking India into the next growth economy.

India has one of the highest growth in STEM graduates. But many will require industry experiences to bridge the skill gaps to be productive.

As per the 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index, 2016 survey the topmost driver of manufacturing competitiveness is talent. The survey also projects India is expected to move to the 5th rank among countries globally by 2020 from its current ranking of 11th.

India has to focus more on STEM curriculum in the context of technologies being used in Industry 4.0. As per the UNESCO 2013 report the number of researchers per million population in India is 157. This is low in comparison to other competing nations.


Another perspective is a country’s spend on R&D as percentage of GDP. As per the Industrial Research Institute 2016 report in India 0.85% of GDP is invested into R&D. This is low in comparison to other competing countries.


Curriculums in colleges should be increasingly aligned towards research and addressing industry challenges. For example in the Automotive Industry in India, focus has been on complying to BS VI emission norms. For example students in Mechanical Engineering or Automobile Engineering should be working on research papers connecting the concepts imbibed in their semesters to how it will effect BS VI. One example, to meet BS VI norms automobiles require light weighting to increase fuel efficiency. So industry is researching on the use of materials with lighter weight. Most of the modern cars have started using bodies made of aluminum and composites. This means for a student studying Metallurgy research paper should focus on properties of aluminum for stamping and die design. Similarly welding of aluminum. The objective is towards inculcation of research orientation.

People enter into the workforce around the age of 25 years and retire at the age of 60 to 65 years after a work life of around 40 years. Developments in health sciences predict average life expectancies starting in the developed countries to move to around 100 years. This means people will have to work for around 60 to 65 years on entering the workforce at 25 years. But technologies keep changing. There were no Whatsapp, Twitter, Google Cars 10 years back. This means for millennials to keep their skills relevant they have to continuously learn and re-learn acquiring new skills.

Among the millennials some will be successfully riding the wave of Industry 4.0 to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. And maybe from India in a flatter world.



  1. ‘Civilization, The West and the Rest’ by Niall Ferguson
  2. ‘The Demographic Cliff’ by Harry S. Dent , Jr
  3. ‘The Singularity is Near’ ( When Humans Transcend Biology ) by Ray Kurzweil
  4. ‘The Design of Future Things’ by Donald A. Norman
  5. ‘Phenomenology’ ( Basing Knowledge on Appearance ) by Avi Sion
  6. ‘Average is Over’ by Tyler Cowen
  7. Siemens Digital Enterprise by Prof.Dr.Siegfried Russwurm in ‘The Digital Enterprise’ by Karl-Heinz Streibich
  8. ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell
  9. ‘Future of Jobs’ report from World Economic Forum
  10. ‘2016 Global Manufacturing Competitive Index’ from Deloitte Global and the Council on Competitiveness
  11. ‘2016 Global R&D Funding Forecast’ from Industrial Research Institute ( IRI )
  12. ‘Economic Survey 2015 – 16’ from Government of India

Guest Post:- 

Author – Mr. Abhijit A Barua, Director – at Siemens Industry Software ( PLM ) India

Mr. Abhijit Barua – profile -  Linkedin - 

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