Reskilling employees has become a key focus area for IT majors in the light of severe talent crunch the industry is witnessing.
Ajay Shah, Head- Recruitment Services, TeamLease, an IT staffing firm, told Moneycontrol that out the 100 jobs that need a skilled workforce, only five are being filled.
“This is despite that demand for a skilled workforce is only 10 percent of the total workforce required,” he said. Shah explained that as companies take on more digital transformation projects, jobs that require knowledge of emerging technology skills such as IoT, automation and machine learning are on the rise.
To offset the skill gap, IT majors such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro have shifted the focus to building talent in-house and are investing significantly on the training infrastructure.
TCS, for instance, gave job offers to 30,000 freshers for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, based on the strong demand for the oncoming quarters.
Rajesh Gopinathan, CEO, TCS, said in the company’s Q1 earnings call that the company has invested significantly in restructuring training infrastructure, which is completely digital now. The large hirings come on the back of this digital training infrastructure that is highly scalable and train employees on project basis digitally.
In the FY2017 annual report, TCS said the company has trained two lakh employees on six lakh competencies through its digital competency development programme.
“We are experimenting with ever more innovative ways to accelerate digital learning. One such recent initiative is a mobile-first app that uses gamification to deliver an immersive learning experience,” the annual report said.
Wipro has TopGear, the company’s social learning and crowdsourcing platform. It has over 2,000 learning assignments across 200 skills. Close to 1.3 lakh employees were trained in digital technologies till FY19.
Lex, Infosys’ reskilling platform, now has over two lakh employees to build their digital skills. Salil Parekh, CEO, Infosys in the recently-concluded AGM said it is encouraging to see employees spending more time on Lex platform to learn more skills.
But are these enough?
The efforts made by the IT firms are encouraging but they are far from perfect.
For Ramkumar S*, an employee in an IT company said, it might not benefit all of them. “I trained myself on new-age technologies. But the problem is that even after the training I was not mapped to the project that required me to use the skill I acquired,” he added. His is not the only case.
According to an industry watcher, given that this is an initial phase, it will also take companies to find the right fit for its employees.
Another challenge is the competition. Supaul Chanda, Business Head, Teamlease digital, said, “Though talent crunch is a global issue, India’s transition to digital is very slow, likely due to volume.”
“If we don’t step up other countries such as the Philippines that are fast-growing will catch up and opportunities will go to them instead of India,” he added.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of the individual