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Worrying signs

Worrying signs
Highlights

The Information Technology sector that has made the dream come true for the Indian middle class is not going to be so rosy at least for now. The IT industry is expected to recruit 20 per cent less this year. This fall is primarily due to automation, says the report of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). 

The Information Technology sector that has made the dream come true for the Indian middle class is not going to be so rosy at least for now. The IT industry is expected to recruit 20 per cent less this year. This fall is primarily due to automation, says the report of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM).

Besides, companies are focusing on making existing employees more productive thus reducing opportunities for fresh graduates. Market analysts also suggest that top IT companies of India on an average are retrenching 5 per cent jobs annually.

The companies are also resorting to arbitrary job cuts in the name of shunting out non-performers. Besides, IT companies are replacing senior employees with fresh recruits so as to save the pay bill on HR. The rate of pay hikes are also reportedly coming down.

The companies also prefer less qualified graduates to engineering graduates again to incur less expenditure on human resources. This is not to predict a debilitating picture. The IT sector would continue to provide handsome jobs. But, the opportunities will not be as lucrative as it used to be.

Still, United States and Europe are the major destination centres for Indian software exports. The Indian IT sector has to diversify its exports. The domestic IT consumption has to increase that would reduce the risk associated with the vicissitudes of the global economy.

The quality of IT education continues to be a matter of concern. The quantitative expansion of engineering education is not accompanied by improvement in standards. The unemployability of engineering and technology graduates is still a challenge. The IT market can no longer be taken for granted by job-seekers.

Automation makes repetitive and low-level jobs redundant. Therefore, in the age of automation and associated job cuts, the Indian IT sector should focus on niche areas such as artificial intelligence, cloud and big data. Even when the industry is witnessing reduced hiring, professionals with skills in such domains are in high demand and also highly paid.

Both the recruiters and job-seekers should adjust to the changes in the industry. India cannot remain the destination for low-cost jobs alone. The sector should focus on product development more than providing services only. India is seen more as the back office delivery centre. There is a need to move up the skill sets.

The macroeconomic policies of the government should focus on creating durable quality jobs in other sectors too, especially in manufacturing. India needs a cultural renaissance to reverse perverse market signals that portray some jobs superior to others. This will reduce the uneven concentration of youth in certain courses only.

The pace of new technologies like automation, robotics and artificial intelligence will take over the low and middle-level jobs. We have to look at new ways to ride on these emerging technologies to create new and smart jobs. Skills are fast becoming obsolete due to fast pace of technological change.

Constant updating of skills is must. Our educations system should live up to this emerging jobs landscape to prepare our youth. The work force having speed, innovation, agility and productivity will always be in high demand. The challenge is in preparing for the transition.

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