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BW Businessworld

Automation Has Threatened Nearly 60 Percent Jobs In India

Not focusing on new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, analytics, cloud, and machine learning creates a skill gap in the industry

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As the world moves towards advanced technological developments, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that our education system isn’t. Engineering colleges are still not conducting enough sessions on new-age technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, analytics, cloud, and machine learning which creates a skill gap in the industry. 

Kunal Nagarkatti, Chief Operating Officer, Clover Infotech talks to BW Businessworld about employability, skills for employment and training for jobs.  

What has been the primary reason for drop-in employability?

Growing use of Automation - As per the research conducted by the World Bank, growing use of automation has posted a threat to nearly 60 percent jobs in India. The significant factor contributing to this is the mundane nature of the job that requires less imagination and creativity. Besides, automation gives companies technological advancement which leads to reduced costs and improved performances. 

Changing face of international politics – Political changes in developed economies such as the United States and Europe directly affects the business scenario in the Indian IT industry. When the government in these developed economies put pressure on companies to outsource work to local companies instead of outsourcing it to India, this slows down growth and employment in sectors such as IT and IT-enabled services sector. 

Are capabilities taking over qualification for employment?

Qualification is important because it gives you the basic knowledge of a subject and lays the groundwork. Capabilities, on the other hand, is all about specific knowledge, abilities, and experience necessary to perform a job. It wouldn’t be correct to say that capabilities are taking over qualification. However, one needs to develop soft skills, job-specific technical skills, analytical and people skills to do well in any profession. Qualification is required to get into a profession, but capabilities need to be developed, enhanced and practiced in order to remain relevant in the industry. 

What skills will be helpful for employment in the future?

The enormous changes across sectors due to automation will require skills related to creativity, emotional intelligence, analytics, project management and people skills that will augment employability. Companies will have to focus on their training and development efforts to help employees to unlearn and re-learn quickly. The future would take “convergence” to a different level and team members from diverse geographies will come together to undertake and complete projects seamlessly. In such an ultra-digital universe, communication and presentation skills would assume unprecedented significance. 

India has just little over 3 percent of its workforce which is formally trained. How do you see it impacting the Indian economy? 

If we can do so well with 3 per cent, imagine what can be done if we improve this percentage. Formal training fuels the workforce with efficiency enhancements. It makes the workforce better aligned and oriented to results and hence directly contributes to economic growth. 

Formal training in newer technology areas such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and coding can disrupt the start-up ecosystem in India which is already buzzing with ideas that have the potential to be path-breaking unicorn companies. 

How realistic is the target of 400 million skilled Indian by 2022?

I think it’s about doing small things correctly. It is achievable if we leverage the potential of the internet and mobility and create a huge mass-learning ecosystem through it. The problem of skilling is more of a connectivity and access problem than anything else. If we can ensure that classrooms can be extended to the mobile phones and interactive group learning sessions can be conducted successfully, we might surprise ourselves by surpassing or even exceeding this target.

How do you provide training and what are the assessment parameters? 

I firmly believe that all knowledge and training should be a journey and not a one-month crash course. We leverage technical tools and classroom training to transform technology students into well-learnt and informed project managers. During the course, we give them periodic tests to understand the success of our classroom training. We facilitate on-the-job learning opportunities wherein they work alongside our expert technology consultants, and then graduate to managing critical projects by themselves. This journey happens over a few years and every training and skilling program should follow such models to contribute towards creating a highly skilled workforce.