Automation will Improve Work in India, only if Upskilling Starts Now
Prof Gurunarayanan is the Dean of Work Integrated Learning Programmes, Bits Pilani. He says that he visualizes WILP’s collaboration and Partnerships with the Industry to become deeper and even more strategic in the future. He adds that there is a storm of new technologies blowing around the world, and unlike storms of wind, this seems not to be ending soon or in a foreseeable future. There is an enduring trend towards rapid adoption of digital technologies in all sectors and along with that a dizzyingly fast introduction of new technologies on a continued basis. In addition to the storm of new-age digital technologies, one also observes a war for talent among employers for recruiting, developing, and retaining a workforce skilled in new-age technologies.
Digital transformation is creating more job opportunities. As core processes in organizations go digital, automation and AI are enabling humans to take up more complex tasks. Changes in work-place environment, technology that is deployed, and market needs, demand that employed professionals across domains learn new principles and technologies as well as adopt advanced methodologies and practices to improve their individual abilities – in turn improving the work-place and its culture. This need has been steadily accelerating over the last several decades, and the advent of modern information and communication technologies has made it mandatory for individuals to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest in their domains, and relevant supporting technologies NASSCOM predicts that by the end of 2022, a startling 46% of the Indian workforce will be engaged in entirely new jobs or jobs that have radically changed skill sets.
Developing the ability to take on more complex jobs will require organizations to upskill their employees and make them ready. Automation need not be limited to manual operations but can include mental tasks such as planning, decision making, etc. From a mere dextrous skill they progress to exercise their brain skills, which is not natural but requires deliberate learning and practice. Productivity and quality require automation, which can sustain only when the people involved are skilled at it. In the absence of this, there will be a skill gap between what the organizations expect and what the employees deliver. Upskilling creates an ecosystem where employees and technology can coexist and protects our jobs from being redundant.
India has set itself to challenge both manufacturing and service sector performance for which technology is imperative. The scale and consistency cannot be achieved with manual operations be it farming, engineering, IT, or healthcare. As per NASSCOM reports IT Sector would need a future talent pool in the areas of Artificial Intelligence & Big Data Analytics, IoT, Cloud and Edge Computing, Cyber Security, Blockchain, AR/VR to carry out business in several of its domains and future Skill Talent pool will account for approximately 40% of the IT – BPM work force. Upskilling considered very critical to be relevant especially at the Entry & Mid-level. As employees start working on projects, the upskilling requirements are driven more out of the projects assigned to them.
India has a large and qualified professional workforce, which must and will continue to grow in size, complexity, and quality. Given the nature of modern professions, and the acquired reputation of Indian professionals in these roles, continual learning and higher educational qualifications are necessary tools for the nation to succeed within, and compete globally. Employees pursue training programs before on boarding into a project or if they are switching to a completely new role. Well-structured programmes in digital technologies to up-skill and re-skill the Indian Technology Workforce and students in the areas such as Data Science & Engineering, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Full Stack Engineering, Internet of Things, Business Analytics, FinTech thus becomes a necessity. It is only natural that the people in the value chain upskill themselves to not only adapt to these technologies but learn to leverage them to achieve higher productivity at scale and quality.