If 2018 was the year that the Indian IT sector fend off news about its impending doom, 2019 will be the year it accelerates its re-invention. New technologies are becoming integral to business operations, and large scale continuous re-skilling programs and finding newer avenues for talent are key business priorities. “Demand for digital will be on the upswing with a confluence of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), data science, big data, mobility, IoT (the Internet of Things), analytics, additive manufacturing, blockchain and much more,” says Satish Jeyaraman, Vice President, Human Resources, Cognizant.
“Talent will define IT sector’s battle ground” said NASSCOM Chairman Rishad Premji in a recent interview.
Here's a roundup of key talent related trends:
Expertise over experience:
“In 2019, we will witness a significant shift towards prioritizing expertise over experience. Organizations will hire skilled professionals with competencies in advanced technologies on an unparalleled scale to meet their growing talent demand,” said Shine.com’s CEO Zairus Master
Data ‘jobs’ to grow:
Technology disruptions and opportunities for innovation is dependent on the ability to use the data. Every year, every day, more data is churned, the quantum of this data is only going to increase. “The ability to use this data and to analyze using sophisticated tools like R, Phython etc., is becoming crucial. Whether you’re in HR or manufacturing, data analysis is becoming a crucial tool.” said Amit Aggarwal, CEO, IT-ITeS Sector Skills Council, NASSCOM.
Increased focus on cross skilling and soft skills:
"The most critical requirement is get empower employees to cross train and cross skill in a changed software environment. The mandate for leaders from a people and culture standpoint is to upskill people and cross skill them across functions. And it's true of most roles in the organization" said KN Murli, Director - People and Culture, Dimension Data. " From an HR standpoint, there is a need to make learning exciting and rewarding for the individual employee."
As AI based technologies taken on rote programming jobs, the focus is also on a range of soft skills.
“Skills like collaboration, co-creation, design thinking, creative problem solving, multi-disciplinary thinking, all of these require people who aren’t just focused on how well they code in front of a computer, its about a lot more human to human interaction” said Amit.
On pay and salaries:
“Cost factors are leading the conversations on budgets and salaries. Incentive and perks are being increasingly use to lure top candidates. And Competition and Gig economy are increasingly key factors that are influencing the pay scale. Skills in demand are way more different than those required in the next few years,” says Kapil Sharma, Chief Sales Officer, Collabera.
Rise in flexi workforce:
“With emerging technologies, companies will work towards blending their full-time IT staff with flexi workforce. Companies are all set to remodel their hiring techniques with niche technologies to play a greater role driving the hiring process. On time delivery, flexibility quotient and significant cost benefits are already boosting the growth of IT flexi-staffing industry. The Indian IT flexi-staffing industry is all set to grow to touch to $ 4.08 billion mark by 2019," says Suchita Dutta, Executive Director, Indian Staffing Federation
On H1B Visa:
Despite an uncertain climate of protectionism in the United States and a spate of executive orders on H1B last year, it seems like there will be a clearer stance of on the use of the H1B visas sooner than later.
On 11th Jan'19, President Trump tweeted “H1-B holders in the United States can rest assured that changes are soon coming which will bring both simplicity and certainty to your stay, including a potential path to citizenship. We want to encourage talented and highly skilled people to pursue career options in the U.S.”
But he did not offer any concrete follow-ups in this regard.
Need for faster and effective talent assessments:
"When hiring in bulk, IT companies face challenges like testing tech skills, testing behavioral fitment and on-the-job performance of candidates. Using a talent acquisition method that is scalable and yet meets all these requirements is difficult. As per Mettl’s Talent Assessment Study 2018, use of talent assessments in ITES industry has increased by 132% from 2016 to 2017, led by a spurt in the usage of technical MCQs and coding simulators. Ensuring that the candidates don’t cheat while giving the assessments is crucial too causing usage of easily scalable remote proctoring solutions such as auto-proctoring and secure browser to increase." said Ketan Kapoor, Cofounder and CEO, Mettl
The need for a diverse workforce:
“Diversity and inclusion will play a key role in creating the workforce of the future. Organizations and leaders should cultivate a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusion and build a hybrid workforce that has representatives from different age groups, genders, ethnicities, orientations, capabilities and abilities. The culture should be realigned to eliminate unconscious biases and discriminatory language and behaviour,” said Satish.
Need for an ecosystem of innovation:
There is a need for great collaboration between the government, educational institutions and the industry.
Bridging the research gap in universities, making the most of the centers of excellence, and fostering an ecosystem where practice and experimentation is encouraged will be critical for innovation.
As the IT-ITES sector navigates the future, a clearer roadmap is emerging that calls for an agile, robust service model that has to keep re-inventing in order to stay relevant. "The agility with which the sector is able to manage these transitions is key" Murli said.