Shan­mugam Nagarajan, Co-Founder & Chief Peo­ple Of­fi­cer, [24]7.ai in an in­ter­view to Dataquest talks about the state of ICT skills, his com­pany’s HR sourc­ing strat­egy and ways and means of fos­ter­ing skill de­vel­op­ment in the ICT space. Ex­cerpts:

Dataquest - - CONTENTS - —SHAN­MUGAM NAGARAJAN Co-Founder & Chief Peo­ple Of­fi­cer, [24]7.ai

As a CEO and peo­ple leader, what are your key pri­or­i­ties you have set for your or­ga­ni­za­tion in terms of hav­ing the best of skills and your ex­pec­ta­tions from the in­sti­tu­tions? Given the kind of new tech­nolo­gies we work with at [24]7. ai – Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, Big Data & Predictive An­a­lyt­ics, Nat­u­ral Lan­guage Un­der­stand­ing – our hir­ing strat­egy leans more to­wards lat­eral hir­ing. In terms of cam­pus hires, we look at hir­ing top ta­lent from tech­nol­ogy in­sti­tu­tions in tier II cities. We find that stu­dents from there have the fire in the belly to learn. Quite frankly, they are ex­cited by the op­por­tu­nity to work along­side some of the bright­est minds in these spe­cial­ized do­mains who are solv­ing some re­ally com­plex prob­lems. As an or­ga­ni­za­tion, we have be­lieved in cre­at­ing growth op­por­tu­ni­ties for the tal­ented young peo­ple and our ta­lent ac­qui­si­tion strat­egy is aligned to that phi­los­o­phy.

On the ta­lent in tier 2 cities?

Well in tier 2 cities, I think some of the in­sti­tu­tions such as PSG Tech, Sas­tra, PESIT, Kam­raj Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing have done re­mark­ably well in terms of evolv­ing with the chang­ing times. They have main­tained a close con­nec­tion with the in­dus­try and have en­sured that their stu­dents are at­tuned to the chang­ing tech­nol­ogy land- scape. Other in­sti­tu­tions should also work closely with the in­dus­try to un­der­stand the chang­ing ta­lent pro­files and make suit­able changes in their course con­tent. While there have been a large num­ber of en­gi­neer­ing col­leges that were es­tab­lished only the best in­sti­tu­tions have thrived and the oth­ers have fallen by the way­side be­cause they have been de­liv­er­ing a sub­stan­dard qual­ity of ed­u­ca­tion. Our na­tional and state-level gov­ern­ing bod­ies for tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion should also drive con­stant up­dates to cur­ricu­lum and push for in­dus­try-academia col­lab­o­ra­tion to en­sure that our aca­demic train­ing is rel­e­vant and rig­or­ous.

Fo­cus on ‘Soft Skills’

Last but not the least; we would urge in­sti­tu­tions and stu­dents both to fo­cus on im­prov­ing soft skills. Stu­dents should be en­cour­aged to take own­er­ship in this area to im­prove their skillset. Re­mem­ber, jobs are not lo­cal any­more – stu­dents are com­pet­ing with the global ta­lent pool and it’s im­per­a­tive that they im­bibe char­ac­ter­is­tics of a ‘global cit­i­zen’ – busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, cul­tural sen­si­tiv­ity, em­pa­thy and knowl­edge of global eco­nomic & po­lit­i­cal trends. In ad­di­tion to sound do­main knowl­edge, these at­tributes will help them make their mark in this lo­cal job mar­ket that’s global.

—SHAN­MUGAM NAGARAJAN Co-Founder & Chief Peo­ple Of­fi­cer, [24]7.ai

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