While skill development gets a major chunk of CSR funding, tech reskilling in India isn’t a priority. Even with the third-largest developer base and a substantial tech-savvy talent pool, India lags behind its peers on major AI indicators. This is despite a thriving startup ecosystem, high-growth companies which have made a substantial investment in setting up CoEs (centres of excellence) and the Government investing in building a robust tech infrastructure.
Behind the AI and data analytics boom, lies the story of a massive talent gap as workforce struggles to remain employable. The skills’ shelf life has shortened, with technology changing exponentially over the last decade, skills that were relevant at the beginning of the career have become obsolete. In order to remain employable, the workforce needs reskilling in India.
Reskilling in India can fill gaps
The rise of edtech companies in India is not surprising, given the huge clamour for continuous learning that has taken root in the professional sphere. This is backed by the rise of emerging technologies — Artificial Intelligence, its subset Machine Learning and Data Science which has spawned a booming job market revolving around new technologies that has substantially transformed India’s IT labour market.
The changing job economy has resulted in new opportunities for the Indian workforce. As estimated by a consulting major,
AI has the potential to add 15% of India’s current gross value in 2035. The booming economy, fuelled by AI and advanced analytics requires more Indians to enter the workforce with a different skill-set. As per estimates, close to 97,000 AI positions lie vacant in India.
However, the challenges are also increasing multifold — on the one hand, Indian companies are struggling with disruptions like automation that are redefining jobs and secondly, it is grappling with finding the right talent with the right skillset for AI/ machine learning and data science teams. Meanwhile, the upcoming generation that will enter the workforce soon is fed on an outdated curriculum that hasn’t kept up with the industry’s demands.
What can key players do?
In order to capitalise on these opportunities, IT companies, educators and policymakers need to develop a deeper understanding of the existing workforce, the skill-set required in the future, and the gaps that will need to be addressed. This implies that these three key players need to align the broader economic developer agenda with the shifting job market and work towards building a strong talent that has the baseline and digital skills required for current landscape.
The government’s involvement in reskilling in India is a must. A joint report by industry body NASSCOM and FICCI says that the IT workforce will become obsolete without government involvement. Policymakers will have to assess secondary and postsecondary education and align it with the skills that are required for tomorrow. Many leading Indian IT majors have undertaken employer-training initiatives, pre-employment training and have also provided their own courseware.
Collectively, the key stakeholders can foster a workforce development ecosystem and provide domain-specific training
with a job-first approach. Given this scenario — educational stakeholders have made a very strong business case for reskilling in India and have actively partnered with renowned educational institutions to launch technical certifications and degree programmes tailored to fill the skill gap.