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Stigma reason behind shortage of ‘skilled’ trade workers in India: Survey

In a survey conducted by 3M, the global firm found that 80 per cent of Indian respondents believe that a shortage of ‘skilled’ trade workers in the country could have a negative economic impact, and lead to decline in overall quality of life and neglected public infrastructure. Skilled trade workers include electricians, carpenters, plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters, welders, heavy equipment operators and painters.

The State of Science Index-2023, released by the American multinational, it also found that 85 per cent of respondents said the shortage of skilled trade workers was on account of parents discouraging children from pursuing opportunities in the sector.

“Eighty per cent believe there is a negative stigma around being a skilled trade worker,” the SOSI-2023 said referring to the findings of the survey in India.

This survey was conducted in 17 countries during September to December last year among 1,000 general population consumers in each country. It explores the future of science and captures sentiment related to STEM equity, skilled trades, sustainability, health and future innovation.

“Eighty per cent of the respondents say that if the country cannot find a solution to this shortage soon, there could be consequences such as negative economic impact, decline in overall quality of life, safety risks, neglected public infrastructure and supply chain challenges,” it said.

91 per cent of respondents in India also believed that science has a critical role in improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations and 92 per cent want to hear what scientists think about societal issues. It found that 86 per cent of Indians surveyed believe positive outcomes can be achieved if people stand up for and defend science – from solutions to climate change, to improved public health and sustainable agriculture. As many as 95 per cent respondents said schools should provide education around climate change for students as a core part of their science curriculum.

As global temperature is projected to warm about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 worldwide, there has never been a greater need for climate action and innovation. The United Nations has warned that developing countries are most vulnerable to the detrimental health effects of global warming. According to the survey, people in India are concerned about clean water supply (68%), air pollution (69%) and plastic pollution (68%).

The SOSI 2023 data showed that 83% of Indians said they are concerned about the consequences of climate change. The answer to mitigating these consequences lies in science as 95% believe that science can be applied to minimize the effects of climate change.

In the current climate, India respondents agreed that sources of untapped potential in the STEM workforce include under-represented groups at 90 per cent and women at 93 per cent.

These under-represented groups, if given opportunities, would be crucial in driving the economy of our country, the survey found.

Ninety-two per cent of respondents agree that more needs to be done to encourage and keep students from under-represented groups engaged in STEM education and 91 per cent say under-represented groups often do not receive equal access to STEM education.

The survey found that 83 per cent of Indians said they are concerned about the consequences of climate change.

According to the survey, 94 per cent of Indians said they believe electric vehicles help in minimizing pollution. The switch to electric cars should be reflected across the world as 94 per cent said that by 2032, all countries should stipulate that new vehicles that are manufactured should be either electric or hybrid.

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