Can reskilling in the IT Industry help women restarters find better jobs?
In the last three decades, the incredible proliferation of mobile and digital technologies has changed the way humans behave and interact with each other. The increasing use of internet-enabled devices has had an enormous impact on how businesses are run. Today, nearly every major company now leverages technology in one way or another. So much so, that a large proportion of India’s workforce gravitated towards the IT sector. In 2017, India’s IT sector aggregated revenues of USD 160 billion, and was estimated to have employed more than 4 million people directly and is projected to employ 17 million people directly and indirectly by 2025 (Source – IBEF March 2017)
However, the IT sector is looking for skillsets that the current IT workforce largely lacks. The world is on the cusp of what is being billed as the fourth industrial revolution – the introduction of automation and AI into the marketplace. According to the World Bank, this development is expected to threaten a substantial proportion of jobs in economies like India and China; and a study conducted by FICCI, NASSCOM, and EY indicated that the IT-BPM sector would be the worst hit, with 60-65% of these jobs under threat within the next three years. With so many jobs under threat, how is the IT industry expected to increase the number of people it employs?
A 2017 McKinsey report stated that nearly half of the 4 million IT workforce would be irrelevant in the next 3-4 years(1). As the shelf-life of technical skills gets shorter, learning agility, adaptability and creative thinking are becoming critical differentiators in the marketplace. Increasingly, how fast professionals acquire and apply new technology knowledge is becoming more important than what they know.
The IT industry is hoping to add 3.5 lakh jobs between FY19 and FY25. But for this to happen, reskilling of the workforce is a must. The McKinsey report noted that IT firms must find new service lines and solutions, build new capabilities, drive digital transformation and reskill employees with emerging technologies(1).
The need to reskill women restarters
According to a World Bank study, nearly 20 million Indian women quit jobs between 2004-12. Around 65-70% of women who quit never return to work at all. In the last three years, we have witnessed that the obstacles to restart are many and outdated skills being the most significant deterrent. A large percentage of them see reskilling as a necessity for their career restart, progression and job role changes. Hence, there is a growing need for on-demand skilling amongst this group of job seekers.
The online reskilling market is burgeoning amongst women restarters. This growing job seeking population drives the demand for industry relevant training as there is a skills gap that needs to be bridged before getting back into the workforce. There is a need to reskill these women and make them part of the workforce.
Online reskilling opportunities
Women on a career break today can’t afford to spend years going back to school, and brick-and-mortar institutions in the country largely lack the capacity or the skill to provide the kind of training required to make these professionals job-ready in these emerging technologies. However, online courses with virtual classrooms are becoming increasingly popular. Many of these courses are targeted at working professionals and women on a break, and thus are flexible by design. This can allow women to learn at their own pace, giving them targeted, and industry-relevant training in a way that is mobile and convenient. Courses in Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Data Science and Analytics, Data Visualization, and Big Data are great sources of reskilling and are available on multiple digital platforms.
The opportunities aren’t limited to technology alone; the influx of these autonomous and AI-led systems are likely to create a market in which human skills like creativity, imagination, negotiation, and communication will become a resource people leverage to gain employment in the future. Courses in soft skills like negotiation and communication, or even courses in Management, Digital Marketing, and Human Resource management through these platforms can help IT employees restart their career.