Amidst the financial conundrums faced by telecom companies, there seems to be some optimistic ray seen by a recent study on the job market of the telecom industry. As per a joint study by Assocham-KPMG, there is a greater possibility of the creation of employment avenues by generating 30 lakh jobs by 2018 in the telecommunications sector.
The study states that “The telecom sector finds itself in an unenviable position where despite falling average revenue per user (ARPU), the players are forced to invest significantly in infrastructure and technology upgrades in order to maintain competitiveness.”
To add to its woes, the free fall in tariffs, are putting pressure on revenue and profitability of operators.
Technology evolution, the main reason
The ASSOCHAM-KPMG study pointed to "tremendous growth potential" for Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, saying the market is poised to reach USD 15 billion by 2020 with 2.7 billion units of connected devices. The market size in 2016 was USD 5.6 billion with 200 million units of connected devices. The study further pegged the CapEx investment during 2016-20 at USD 35 billion.
Emerging technologies like 5G, M2M and the evolution of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are the harbingers of this good news in the context of employability. And the topping on this is the rising smartphone penetration, availability of high-speed mobile internet at affordable rates, entry of new players in the market, and introduction of digital wallets. All of these factors have been spurring demand for use of technology in the ‘ailing’ telecom sector.
Skill Gap – a major challenge
Though The Telecom Sector Skill Council has been set up to cater to the demands and skill needs of the telecom sector, the industry is in need of much more specialized skill sets. The chiasm of the required and the current skill set is posing a major challenge in most of the sectors. It has become imperative to enhance existing manpower capabilities for making the uninterrupted availability of specialized skill resources by bridging the skill gaps at a much faster rate.
Some of the functional roles which will need quick skill enhancement are infra and cybersecurity experts, application developers, sales executives, infrastructure and handset technicians.
To sum up
India is the second-largest mobile market in the world. Currently, it has 646 million unique mobile subscribers. This number will add up to more than 300 million new unique subscribers by 2020 making the telecom sector's contribution to GDP to 8.2 per cent by 2020. The paradigm shift from a voice-centric market to a data-centric market has given rise to an exponential growth trajectory.
This highly price-sensitive market with increased debt burden on operators coupled with continuous pressure on profitability is undergoing a lot of changes. Moving up the technology curve and expanding the breadth of coverage has become paramount for the industry to provide differentiated value offerings to end customers. All these new wave of evolving technology resulting in the creation of jobs and getting the right set of specialized skilled resources brings back the hope for a better-transformed telecom sector in future.