It would not be incorrect if I stick my neck out to say that this is one of the most talked about topics of the recent past and the debate goes on without any let down. And why not? The survival almost depends on how fast one can stay relevant again in the current market context.
The Fortune 500 Companies have a mortality higher than what it was earlier. Decoupling of revenue growth and people growth have already begun for some time now. Bill Gates quoted: “Many businesses overestimate changes which will occur in 2 years but underestimate what will change in 10 years". Many administrative and production jobs will cease to exist as we go by. And hence having the foresightedness to see what is coming will be of paramount importance - it affects both the business and people alike - so stay relevant to grow and sustain!
One of the key questions is whether there will be sufficient jobs to employ the employable? While technology has significantly contributed to improved customer experience in terms of ease, cost efficiency, comfort & value add; there is a disruption in the availability of jobs & income for many. Many jobs done today will soon become automated.
One of the trends that has fast emerged is the skill to collaborate and partner to create scale and volume growth. We have seen many success stories of aggregation in the recent past where the key is to collaborate and create a win-win while providing customers with improved service experience at lesser cost. The future workforce will be a combo of permanent, freelance, contingent & automated. Highly skilled professionals are in high demand and therefore will drive shared jobs. It’s a reality. In US, according to one estimate, by 2020, 40% of the total work force will be independent contractors and the trend in other parts of the world including India may not be very different. The labor reforms that are expected to be in place in India will really set the tone for such a transformation in India soon. This will also open up many possibilities for people who are skilled and employable but not so due to mobility issues using digital platform as against the conventional way of work. A few years ago, remote working was not a known thing, but has now become very popular and contemporary. While people working on a remote mode are a happier lot, this also contributes significantly to the Company’s business income since they would spend far lesser amount in terms of premises cost. The Indian Government’s push to promote digitization will give a very significant boost in creating a very conducive environment for greater penetration & economic success.
The next question that arises in mind is - are we hiring learners? Is learning implanted in your company’s DNA? Companies hire people not for years of experience or qualification anymore but for the ability to pick up and learn quickly and assimilate - this is the other change which Technology has brought to the table. Disruptions were happening earlier too, however, the impact of all these and the speed with which it is happening is much bigger than what happened during last 40 years. Skilling/reskilling and scaling are going to be the key. Technology and talent are the core differentiators. What the technology cannot take away, are the jobs that are highly creative, research based & with super specialized skill sets. This will open up opportunities for very many while leaving the basic, standard operating, repetitive and the not so specialized/ thinking jobs to the computers and BOTs.
India expected to have more than half of its population accessing mobile internet, access to cloud-based services, digital payments etc. Technology access becoming easy and much more economically viable can be a big boost to the SMEs in scaling up and be much more productive significantly raising the employment generation opportunities. Indian IT companies going through technology transformation is also investing heavily on skilling and reskilling its staff. While this will have a significant impact on the bottom-line in the short run, it is expected to open up more high-end business opportunities in outsourcing of information technology services; making cost-efficient technology for global clients and opening new industry verticals in the fields of system integration, consulting services, and technology-enabled business services etc.
While many jobs will become extinct, creation of jobs are happening much faster than the availability of people. Therefore, the key question is how fast, how well & how much can these be addressed by skilling and reskilling. What the technology does to the business is to equip them with a solid delivery platform which is global and scaleable while this also offers consumer with the ultimate user experience and cost advantage. So the writing is on the wall very clearly - learn and adapt to the changes, leave the basic, operational, repetitive, not so high skilled to the technology, computers and BOTS and take charge of the highly creative & skilled and thinking job; make use of the many avenues thrown open widely by the internet from the comfort of your home office and finally add two more essential skills - Technology Quotient (TQ) and Learning Quotient (LQ) to run along !