Rituparna Chakraborty talks about the current layoffs in IT industry, women employment, and automation. She is President of Indian Staffing Federation and Co-Founder & Executive Vice- President of TeamLease Services Limited.
Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), an apex body of Flexi staffing industry in India, recently organized 11th National Employment Conference themed ‘Future of Employment’. Here are edited excerpts of an interview on future trends of employment and other contemporary issues:
Q1. According to the TeamLease Employment Outlook Report (April to Sept 2017), the companies look less enthusiastic about offering the job. How do you see this scenario in future? Will the employment sector shrink more? And is it likely to get better in the immediate future?
A: It is a temporary thing. There are a few sectors that have a positive outlook and there are other sectors that are more conservative. I believe in the first quarter of the year, people are busy planning about the next year. Of course, there are external drivers but in long term, the outlook is positive even in IT. Some old jobs will become passé and get redundant and there will be new roles that are being created. We need to stop panicking and instead prepare ourselves for these new jobs.
Q2. How the current employment scenario and outlook has impacted women? Especially, women who struggle to resume work after a break.
A: It is very industry specific. However, I do believe that BPOs, the startup culture, e-commerce are leading the way and coming up with the more inclusive environment. Things are definitely changing and improving for women but one thing I personally believe is that women need to take a lot more initiatives for themselves. There is a need to make social shift and women need to do that.
If there are 10 reasons for a woman to opt out of a job but even if she has two reasons to stay back and strive – then she must stay back and mustn’t quit. It is because it will make a difference in her life. Women need to figure out a way to survive within this ecosystem to lead the change. You cannot expect the change to be instigated by the people who are unable to empathize with women related problems. Also, they cannot help in policy making or change work environment – to do all that women need to stay longer to bring about that change.
Q3. There is a lot of news about layoffs due to automation, especially in IT sector. How do you foresee the employment outlook in IT sector in coming months or years?
A: I feel that the current commotion about automation is a sign of progress. We should focus on the opportunities that automation will create for us. While many jobs are taken away still a significant number of jobs will remain and many will be created. However, there is one skill that can’t be automated and that is design thinking. I believe in a future where whether you are an engineer or an architect, you will remain resilient and sustainable due to design thinking. It's only our ability to remain agile and curious that helps us solve problems.
Q4. Congratulations on winning “Telstra Business Woman of the Year Asia” Award. How do you feel? And how has been your experience?
A: It was a great feeling and what took me by surprise is that platform like Telstra has taken the initiative to recognize women with a focus on issues like entrepreneurship, life-changing innovations, and young leaders. They encourage women to come out and make a difference in each of these areas. We, women, have an innate need for seeking perfection in ourselves as compared to opposite sex. We are more critical of ourselves and our fitment, and that at times hold us back in taking up new initiatives. There was a lot of emphasis on building confidence in women through various initiatives. I wish we had similar platforms in India.
Q5. TeamLease has recently acquired 30 percent stake in Fresherworld.com. What do you hope to achieve from this partnership?
A: I see building an ecosystem which marries all the stakeholders in the hiring system and when I say, stakeholders, it doesn’t necessarily mean job seekers and employers. There are so many institutes, colleges, crowdsourcing platforms. Can I create a platform which unifies all and has a digital presence? Freshersworld.com gives us an opening balance. It has traction with a lot of job seekers. The unique visitors it attracts and its active database is an opportunity for us. We are very positive about the future and we have already established a roadmap and are looking at a premium model which is completely digitized.