NEW DELHI: All over the world, jobs in the information technology (IT) sector are under threat due to increasing automation and new digital technologies. But these challenges become bigger for India as Indian IT companies find it hard to re-train staff.
Recently, industry body Nasscom said there was a need to re-train up to 1.5 million workers, nearly half of its sectoral workforce.
Soon after Nasscom’s estimate about re-training, consulting firm Capgemini India said a majority of India’s IT workforce cannot imbibe the required emerging skill-sets and warned of high job losses in middle and senior levels.
Roles in IT companies that were typically assigned to employees with over 10 years of experience — the middle-level bracket — are now going to machines. For example, Capgemini is using IBM’s cognitive consulting tool Watson to assign people to projects, while Infosys is building a machine-learning platform that will help project managers take decisions to make better trade-offs between the number of people needed for a project and the timeline for completion.
“I am not very pessimistic, but it is a challenging task and I tend to believe that 60-65 per cent of them are just not trainable,” Capgemini India’s chief executive Srinivas Kandula said. “A large number of them cannot be trained. Probably, India will witness the largest unemployment in the middle level to senior level.”
As a result, even as IT companies fight to retain their top talent, they have not been very forthcoming in handing out pay hikes to mid-level employees.
Though Indian IT companies are spending millions to re-train their workforce, human resource experts say the mid-level group, which has the most to lose, is also the most resistant to change.
Since workers at the middle level are less likely to imbibe the required emerging skill-sets, they are more likely to be fired than the workers at the lower level.
Companies find it easier to re-train new staff or workers at the lower level because they are digital natives. They are themselves massive users of technology which gives them closer understanding of client’s business.