Over the last few years, there has been an imperative shift in the adoption of technology in organisations across the globe, accelerating their digital-first approach at a pace never witnessed before. Technological trends continue to positively drive the way forward for not only IT, but every industry, with the pandemic having led to a significant increase in investments such as predictive AI, machine learning, and robotic process automation.
According to the Monster Employment Index (MEI), the recruitment landscape in India has witnessed an optimistic outlook in the closing months of 2020, with job postings in the IT industry increasing by 9% (As on November 2020). With organisations expanding their digital foundations, the demand for a tech-savvy workforce equipped with skills to bring future-ready changes towards business continuity has visibly increased.
Employers in the IT space are, in this changing scenario, looking for talent skilled in new-age areas of tech application, such as data science and cybersecurity, among others. In spite of the impact of the pandemic, the IT sector has seen an overall demand for tech roles at approximately 90% of pre-Covid numbers. Companies today are also increasingly investing in upskilling efforts at both the organisational and individual level, prioritising business growth and relevance in such fast-changing times.
Data from a Quess report reveals that specialized skills have witnessed an increase in demand, with organisations looking to employ professionals adept in specific skill sets such as React JS Developer, Java Full Stack Developer, Azure, Android Developer, and Angular JS Developer.
Digital-First Approach and Digital Hiring
Digital transformation saw rapid acceleration fuelled by the pandemic, and companies are now investing more than ever into employing the right talent for specific job roles. With ‘work from home’ becoming a requisite in the post-Covid era, recruiting and hiring patterns in India have largely grown to accommodate digital hiring, leveraging technology to bring the onboarding process online. In order to match the right professionals to the right job roles, recruiters must focus on building clear and sound job definitions, and explore online platforms to locate suitable applicants.
Social media networks can aid in drawing in a large pool of candidates, with the help of clearly communicated requirements for specific job roles. The job search market has, to a great extent, shifted to digital with the launch of many job search portals and mobile applications, across skill levels. Digital recruitment processes are also proving cost effective and pragmatic, in comparison to traditional means of hiring during the new normal. Organisations must also prioritise the interview process and explore innovative skill-based assessment techniques such as virtual hackathons, and e-discussions. These methods will enable recruiters to accurately assess the efficiency and flexibility of the candidates, while ensuring they have the right skill sets for the job.
Skills and Roles in Demand
Skills to work with new-age technology are an intrinsic part of what organisations look for when hiring today. The year 2020 pushed organisations to innovate and adapt to difficult conditions, and technology such as cloud, AI, machine learning, and robotics, to name a few, played a large role in facilitating business survival and continuity during the pandemic. Needless to say, the role of technology will only grow more significant in the future.
Technology companies have increased their demand for talent adept in digital skill-sets that serve to add value to specialised business processes. Additionally, there has also been a notable increase in the demand for part time / gig roles as companies move towards hiring talent specialised in specific skill sets. This new trend, namely task-based employment, focused on outcome-driven performance and cost optimisation, has witnessed an uptick in demand with the advent of the pandemic.
Data from Quess reveals the current demand for these tech skills is ~20% ahead of pre-COVID numbers. From a sizeable pool of tech skills, the top five digital skills in demand were found to be React JS Developer (↑184%), Java Full Stack Developer (↑62%), Azure (↑28%), Android Developer (↓5%), and Angular JS Developer (↓14%). These skills witnessed a significant growth in demand over the last few months of 2020 as compared to that in 2019, depicting an optimistic start to the new year. The need for new, niche skills is fast-growing and will continue to expedite the digital-first economy.
The Paramount Role of Upskilling
Upskilling has become a requisite for nearly all job roles in organisations in the past few years, given the rapid pace of technological advancement. With the advent of the pandemic, reskilling and upskilling practices have gained popularity among employers and employees alike. Companies must focus on driving digital transformation with on-the-job coaching and in-house learning programs to unlock productivity and build a tech-savvy workforce. Initiatives such as training sessions, skill-exchange sessions, and mentoring play a large role in enhancing efficiency of the workforce.
It is important to note that employees play an equal role in ensuring that they diversify their skills in the latest technologies and stay relevant in the industry by referring to online courses in artificial intelligence, cloud computing, machine learning, robotic process automation, data science, data analytics, and the like. It is critical to unlearn the old and relearn new methods of performing activities, and automate tasks to more efficiently utilize the workforce.
Outlook for 2021
A plethora of global trends such as artificial intelligence, robotics, cloud, edge computing, block chain, and predictive, automated solutions have witnessed a surge in usage and are expected to play a pivotal role in the growth of the Indian IT sector. Hyper Automation is also a notable trend across industries where a majority of operations in an organisation are automated, improving efficiency and business agility.
In 2021, organisations will increasingly implement automation and data-driven digital on-boarding using predictive technologies such as AI to support the hybrid work model. Additionally, more and more companies will exhibit an optimistic hiring outlook, as compared slowed hiring patterns during the height of the pandemic. Employers will be looking to hire professionals who are proficient in new-age digital skills to support business continuity and enhance productivity.
As we move into a new decade, the way ahead is innovation, flexibility, and forward-thinking. Organisations must focus on identifying skill gaps, training, and building an adept workforce, in addition to effectively harnessing human resources and modern technologies.