As the slump in India’s growth rate continues, the IT industry has been hit particularly hard. Tighter visa regulations, the spread of automation and the spread of AI & machine learning have led to mass layoffs in the IT sector, with mid-level employees taking the brunt.
In the last few months, IT hiring has slowed down significantly. While, there are a tremendous number of opportunities for professionals with the right skills & training in big data, machine learning/AI, and cloud computing and other emerging technology domains. There is an acute shortage of good data analysts, machine learning and artificial intelligence experts, UX UI (User experience, User interface) designers, cybersecurity and product developers.
With an increasing number of IT companies realizing that investment into skills training for existing employees is more cost-effective than hiring fresh talent, the industry will witness a surge in demand for training programs.
Why Upskilling - and why now?
Employers don’t need people who can be replaced by machines anymore. They need skilled professionals who can add real value. This implies that jobs aren’t secure unless employees are up to date with professional skills. Today one is expected to bring in additional value to the table with technical skills in big data, analytics, cloud computing and security. Cross-training not only complements skill sets but also makes the professional more employable and valuable in the workplace.
In this economic climate, IT companies are waking up to the need for upskilling their employees. Organizations large and small continue to witness high ROI on skills training programs. And the benefits are clear for all to see -
Increased Productivity: Organizations report a positive correlation between employee training and morale as it gives individuals the confidence to plot a defined career trajectory and contribute more effectively to their roles.
Cost-Effective: Re-skilling is a more cost-effective solution for organizations than hiring and training a new employee.
Growing skill gap among IT Professionals
Compounding the problem is the growing skills gap between the industry standards or requirements and the skills the fresher are equipped with. According to the Talent Shortage Survey 2017, conducted by the Manpower Group, 40 percent of employers worldwide reported lack of skilled, qualified workers with the necessary skills to fill open positions.
Digital technology can give the much-needed fillip to not only the IT/ITes sector but also to the entire economy. However, enterprises are not able to take advantage of the opportunities owing to lack of skilled talent. As we head towards a Digital India, the industry requires more than 50 percent workforce equipped with digital skills.
Stagnant skill sets and compensation adjustments for Senior Management
Recently, one of the tech giants had handed out a voluntary separation package to a large number of their Directors, Associate VPs and Senior VPs. This may be a consequence of an adjustment in the talent pool owing to stagnant skill sets among middle and senior management.
As per the study conducted by Experis IT-Manpower Group India for October 2017-March 2018, the IT industry is trying to adjust the talent pool by this type of layoffs at senior levels and hiring more people in the junior and mid-levels or filling up the vacancies internally rather than going for external recruitment.
Threat of automation & the need to Upskill aggressively
The Indian IT industry has evolved over the years and will continue to evolve. Upskilling and reskilling is a must and will keep gaining momentum in near future because of the advent of new technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and Big Data. To keep up with the pace, techies must upskill themselves to survive and grow in the industry.
More than 3 million workers across the world will have a ‘RoboBoss’ by 2018 - says Gartner, which clearly implies that employees must upskill and evolve their skills to keep up pace with the transformation IT industry is going to see.