Ericsson's Nitin Bansal on building a digital-ready workforce for the 5G era
As India prepares to embrace the 5G revolution, Nitin Bansal, the MD of India, Ericsson, underscores the significance of upskilling and transforming the industry workforce.
In an exclusive interview, Nitin, who is also the Head of Networks in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India for Ericsson, shares the company's strategy for building a global talent pool and boosting local competence to support 5G rollouts worldwide.
Here are the edited excerpts.
How is Ericsson implementing upskilling and reskilling programmes to adapt to the changing market and ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of the business?
At Ericsson, we believe in a growth mindset to future-proof our business. Given the rapid digitalization and the fast-paced technological environment in which we operate, it's crucial to ensure our workforce is ahead of the curve. With over 25,000 employees in Southeast Asia, Oceania, and India alone, we continuously upskill and reskill our people to adapt to the changing market by embracing next-gen technology and capabilities.
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We have implemented a diverse range of reskilling and upskilling programmes, covering both soft skills such as leadership and wellness, as well as technical skills including Open RAN, cybersecurity, AI/ML, business storytelling, design thinking, compliance, sustainability, and more, to ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of our business.
How is Ericsson adapting to remote work and flexible work arrangements? And how do you plan to prioritise employee flexibility, well-being, and learning in the future?
The pandemic presented us with an opportunity to rethink and redefine what our future workplace could look like, and we seized it. Ericsson has reimagined its workplace to embrace a new hybrid, flexible model that prioritises employee flexibility, well-being, and learning. We have also invested in digital infrastructure to improve remote collaboration and enhance the overall employee experience.
Our focus on a hybrid work model empowers our line managers to approve when their teams can work from home. While we believe that our offices play a crucial role in fostering a strong culture and sense of belonging at Ericsson, we recognise the importance of work-life balance and support voluntary remote work. We envision our employees spending at least 50% of their time in the office, depending on business needs and individual circumstances.
Even before the pandemic, Ericsson employees had the option to work from home. This existing practice allowed us to smoothly transition into a more flexible way of working that meets the needs of both the business and individuals. We understand that working from home can help our employees balance their personal needs while maintaining a sense of belonging and networking in the office.
As a leader, how do you envision your role evolving in the coming year and beyond? What strategy is Ericsson implementing to build talent pools for successful 5G rollouts worldwide?
My role is to develop and invest in our leaders to create future-ready leaders. We've invested in virtual leadership skills and evolving leaders as coaches with empathy and compassion. They become the glue between employees and make flexible work happen effectively to create a win-win for Ericsson and the individual.
With 5G going live in India, we need to transform our workforce much before the industry transforms itself. We need to build competence and upskill within the company. We'll leverage our global talent pool, bring talent from outside and have local talent pools supporting 5G rollouts across the world.
To accelerate the adoption of 5G in India and build local competence, we are not only focused on upskilling and reskilling our existing workforce but also bringing in new talent. We have local talent pools already supporting 5G rollouts across the world, and we are also hiring talent from outside. By leveraging our global talent pool, we can accelerate the 5G services rollout and help transform India with the power of 5G technology.
What opportunities and challenges does Ericsson anticipate in 2023, especially with regards to the growing momentum in 5G innovation, and how is the company preparing for the telecom sector's demand for 22 million skilled workers by 2025?
In 2023, we see 5G as the biggest opportunity for India, unlocking the potential for the country's economic growth. By enabling operators to manage growing data needs more efficiently and opening new revenue streams, 5G will be a game-changer. According to the Nov edition of Ericsson Mobility Report, 5G subscriptions are projected to reach 690 million by the end of 2028, representing 53% of mobile subscriptions. This growing momentum in 5G innovation is due to its ability to serve diverse use cases through performance, edge computing, network slicing, and inherent security. To achieve this potential, building a digital-ready workforce of the future is imperative, as the telecom sector will require 22 million skilled workers by 2025.
This interview is part of an exclusive series that featured CEOs and MDs of top organisations sharing their perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape and the future of work. Browse all the interviews here!