Dif­fer­ent Strokes for Dif­fer­ent Folks, Say Ex­perts

India Today - - COVER STORY | JOBS -

In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy REV­ENUE $154 bil­lion CON­TRI­BU­TION TO GDP 7.7% TO­TAL JOBS 3.7 mil­lion CHAL­LENGES

Tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in this sec­tor have led to a much higher level of au­to­ma­tion. In that sense, the IT sec­tor is bring­ing change to other sec­tors while also be­ing im­pacted by those same changes. The big is­sue is the level of skill of the work­force rather than the num­ber of peo­ple in it.

At the turn of the mil­len­nium, if a 100 per cent in­crease in rev­enues led to a cer­tain in­crease in head count, the same in­crease in rev­enue to­day would re­quire only half the cor­re­spond­ing in­crease in head­count—and this is go­ing to re­duce fur­ther. Less skilled work­ers may not be re­quired in high num­bers.

A lot of re-skilling is re­quired for em­ploy­ees to re­main rel­e­vant. How­ever, some em­ploy­ees may not be ca­pa­ble of learn­ing new skills. This could lead to a sit­u­a­tion in which com­pa­nies are hir­ing new em­ploy­ees while si­mul­ta­ne­ously let­ting ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees go be­cause of their weaker skills. That is an­other con­se­quence of the con­tin­u­ously grow­ing tech­nol­ogy land­scape.

Within the in­dus­try, there is a lit­tle bit of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion or mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion—that there are mass lay­offs. That sit­u­a­tion has not yet ar­rived. Even if com­pa­nies let go of one per cent of em­ploy­ees on ac­count of per­for­mance, the in­dus­try as a whole would shed 40,000 peo­ple a year. But five per cent are be­ing hired. There are newer skills and newer tal­ent re­quire­ments.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

We need to look at in­creas­ing tech­nol­ogy jobs in non-tech­nol­ogy sec­tors. Tech­nol­ogy is be­ing heav­ily de­ployed in ar­eas like health­care and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The gov­ern­ment’s na­tional skills pro­gramme is not ad­e­quately for­ward-look­ing. We need [to de­velop] skill sets that will be re­quired five years hence.

Peo­ple should be trained at suf­fi­cient scale, qual­ity and speed. That will hap­pen only when tech­nol­ogy is used for skilling it­self, like on­line pro­grammes sup­ple­mented with class­rooms, but es­sen­tially re­ly­ing on on­line con­tent.

There is a need to cre­ate jobs, but ex­ist­ing jobs also have to evolve so that we can re­tain our com­pet­i­tive edge. Tech­nol­ogy has seeped into al­most ev­ery sec­tor—peo­ple need to be trained.

Train­ing will ac­quire mo­men­tum if those who are hir­ing are will­ing to pay a pre­mium for those who are trained.

RACHIT GOSWAMI

R. Chan­drasekhar Pres­i­dent, Nasscom

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