COVID-19 has completely transformed the market dynamics. On the brighter side, it has given birth to new business opportunities and revenue models. Organizations will now be looking to hire candidates who can bring distinct skills as well as fresh ideas and innovation on board. Hence, the demand for job candidates with niche specializations will soar. Colleges and universities can meet the post-pandemic demand of industries and groom their students in this direction by integrating niche specializations into their regular programs. Some of the niche specializations 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 corporations 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 specialization 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 that offer MBA or PGP in AI and ML as a blended specialization. A huge surge in demand for people with AI and ML skills is expected, and hence, there is a dire need for niche specialization courses in this domain.
Healthcare and Hospital Management: The pandemic has put a major burden on healthcare and the 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 specialization 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 building and real estate industry in India is predominantly a sector that operates in an unorganized manner. Customers are generally in a position of disadvantage when it comes to the construction and real estate enterprises and brokers themselves. Additionally, there is a lack of professionalism, transparency, and ethics in the situation. As a consequence of this, the majority of projects are delayed, which leads to complaints from customers. Professionals who are both highly talented and sophisticated have the potential to bring about the much-required adjustments in this sector. Students who pursue a specific specialization in the construction and real estate industry may have the opportunity to explore career opportunities in areas such as project management, evaluation, and cost estimation, as well as management of contracts and vendors. In this profession, specific specialization can help accelerate career advancement in several different areas, including sustainable building, sales and marketing, and customer service.
Digital marketing: The term “digital marketing” refers to a marketing strategy that has gained a strong foothold throughout the past five years, but it has become an indispensable tool during the pandemic. Businesses have realized that digital marketing can guarantee the continuity of their operations even during the most difficult of circumstances. Even though there has been a significant increase in the number of digital marketing courses, both online and offline, throughout the past few years, the total supply is now lower than the demand. Increasing the number of digital marketing specializations that are available is an important necessity. At the same time, these classes ought to be adapted to meet the needs of the business in order to ensure that students can successfully apply what they have learned in the classroom to situations that are based in the real world.
Niche specializations are gaining momentum and are 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.