Moneycontrol
Feb 24, 2017 03:35 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Without reskilling, IT's 1 mn workforce will struggle to stay

The shift the industry is currently undergoing is evident from growth numbers, which have plummeted to mid-single digits in the last few years. And for the first time, industry body Nasscom has deferred its annual growth guidance.

Without reskilling, IT's 1 mn workforce will struggle to stay
Malini Bhupta
Moneycontrol News

A few days ago, Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka said “…anyone walking the floors of the IT services industry would realize that a large number of these jobs are going to go away.” When the chief executive of the country’s second largest technology services company makes such a statement, the sector’s million strong workforce should sit up and take notice because the numbers are clearly scary.

India’s IT services sector has created over a million jobs and put India on the global map. But as new technologies like automation, robotics and artificial intelligence begin to disrupt the bread-and-butter business of Indian IT companies, India’s army of coders and programmers can no longer take their jobs for granted because most of these can be automated.



According to Saurabh Mukherjee, CEO of Institutional Equities at Ambit Capital, “White-collar job creation now seems about to conk off comprehensively as Financial Services, IT Services and Telecom – three sectors which, with total employment of 6 million people, have been the mainstays of white-collar job creation – get ready to shed staff.”

Also read: India faces 1.5 mn white-collar job crisis in telecom, IT, BFSI

The shift the industry is currently undergoing is evident from growth numbers, which have plummeted to mid-single digits in the last few years. And for the first time, industry body Nasscom has deferred its annual growth guidance.

The slowing pace of job creation provides further credence to this story. The number of new jobs created by the industry have been on the decline since Sikka first spoke about automation in 2014. The pace of job creation is already on the decline. Last year, the industry created six percent more jobs than the previous year and this year, the growth figure is expected to slip to five percent.

Technology services companies have been the engine of white-collar job creation for the last two decades. India produces 800,000 engineers every year, of which the tech sector absorbs 100,000. As automation begins to displace jobs, the absorption levels may decline. In addition, 12 million graduates pass out of Indian colleges every year and they may need to be reskilled for a job market that is already in the midst of a paradigm shift.

Also Read: Consolidation in telecom sector may lead to 1 mn job losses 

Says Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President at NASSCOM, “While some jobs will get automated, we are not looking at mass shedding. We are looking reskilling 1 million people because new technologies are reshaping the job market. While the industry will remain a net hirer, the pace of job creation has come down.”

Industry body Nasscom is working with 20 companies to reskill nearly a million people in the industry. The reskilling is divided into three buckets. In the first bucket, the industry body will look at skilling people in technologies like machine learning, virtual reality and IoT (internet of things). The second part of reskilling will involve helping employees understand how their existing work is being reshaped by newer technologies. And the third area where Nasscom is training people is in soft skills. The industry body expects to reskill a million people over the next two-three years.
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