The Indian tech and digital space has been growing rapidly over the past decade and has fuelled massive growth in India, catalysed by the pandemic. This has not only enhanced the pace of technology adoption at the workplace but also greatly impacted schools, colleges, and career choices, bringing about levels of societal preparedness for the jobs of tomorrow in the country. NASSCOM estimates that the Indian IT industry will close FY21 with over 1,38,000 net new hires, taking the total employee base to 4.47 million with a projected revenue of USD 194 Billion. Digital transformation is expected to be at the heart of economic growth in India with “new-age” tech firms and high-skill exports gaining global market. Keeping this in mind, the big tech companies will play a major role in reviving and building the future workforce of the country.
The Indian economy is being boosted by unprecedented growth driven by tech. With the aim of enhancing employability of the youth, both the government as well as some of the larger tech companies, have realigned their goals to focus on initiatives that provide financial assistance, knowledge, training, and certifications to the current and future workforce in the country. For example, the e-commerce sector has been directly impacting millions of lives in India by providing means of financing, technology, and training for their businesses and also creating a favourable cascading effect on other industries. Technology enabled innovations like digital payments, hyper-local logistics, analytics driven customer engagement, and digital advertisements are likely to support the growth in the sector and boost employment significantly.
Experts and educationists came together at a webinar organized by the Esya Centre, a leading think-tank, and Youth Online Learning Organisation (YOLO), moderated by Amitabh Kumar, Co-Founder, YOLO, to deep dive into the theme of future of work and employment in India and how technology is transforming the job space in the post-pandemic world.
Speaking about Amazon’s efforts in creating jobs for the youth, Ms. Deepti Varma, HR Leader – APAC & Middle East, Corporate & Consumer, Amazon, highlighted, “At Amazon, everyday is like Day 1. We like to continuously train our employees. Employees like to learn beyond their fundamental skill sets and Amazon encourages and facilitates that. The power of Amazon came around during the pandemic to help millions of people when such a major crisis was going on. In 2021, we have already hired 3444 students from various campuses and will offer over 8000 jobs in our first Career Day.”
Ms. Ambika Kaul, Career & College Advisor, Delhi Public School R K Puram, said, “The pandemic led to learning losses and learning inequality. 2020 onwards there has been a shift towards skill development. If you look at the kinds of jobs available right now, there is a huge sense of curiosity and anxiety among students and parents. There is more interest in technical jobs and less interest in jobs that can be automated.” She also said, “Cultural competence, digital literacy as well as maths and philosophy are important. Students need to learn internal skills and soft skills such as negotiation, critical thinking, bringing about a confluence of tech, philosophy and analytical skills”
Mr. K. Giri, Director General, Empower India, stated, “We need a system of education and work culture that is open minded, where people work and learn efficiently both in office and from home with the help of technology. There is a need to address the technological needs of both employees and employers. Corporations like Amazon are working to fulfill the employment needs of the country with a pledge to provide 20 lakh jobs by 2025.”
Mr. Vineet Gupta, Founder and Trustee, Ashoka University & Plaksha University, also said, “The pandemic has exposed the digital divide in the country and brought technology to the forefront in every sector, especially in education. There is a need to recognise the gap and transition from development of knowledge to skill and attitude enhancement. We need engineers who understand humans and society. The impediment to women getting into technology sectors is the lack of access to coaching classes which requires immediate attention. For example, in IITs only 10% of the students are women.”
The key takeaways of the session included:
- It is imperative for the government and youth to focus on building the right set of skills.
- Lack of equitable access to technology, digital skills, and education have especially limited the contribution of women and their participation in the workforce.
- Guided by strategic workforce planning, we should create adult upskilling and reskilling programs at scale.
- Success requires working closely with the private sector and academia to develop more creative solutions that match the shifting realities of the labor marketplace over time.
- Students and young professionals also need to focus on developing metaskills, such as logical thinking, reasoning, curiosity, open-mindedness, collaboration, leadership, creativity, and systems thinking which form the foundation of success in the marketplace.
- Industry stakeholders must work together to impact and transform lives and livelihoods, opening up opportunities for direct and indirect jobs and aggravating the way through technology for a secure and stable future.