Nurturing India's Tech Talent for Future Growth

Nurturing Indias Tech Talent for Future Growth

The Indian job market is a dynamic landscape, shaped by rapid technological advancements and evolving business trends. For the country's youth, it...

The Indian job market is a dynamic landscape, shaped by rapid technological advancements and evolving business trends. For the country's youth, it presents both opportunities and challenges.According to a recent report by foundit, there'sa two per cent increasein the hiring activityin the Indian tech job market from June onwards. It holds the promise of positive developments in the job market.One area witnessing significant growth is the demand for talent in artificial intelligence (AI).Over the past six months, the need for AI experts has surged by an impressive 11 per cent.

These statistics indicate that despite the challenges, there are opportunities emerging in the job market, especially in tech-related fields. As the nation strives to harness its demographic dividend, I think it is crucial we bridge this gap and empower the youth with the right skills for employment and entrepreneurship becomes paramount.

Bridging the gap for entry-level talent

Another report by foundit throwslight on the current job market for freshers, where the IT industry has a 19 per cent share in job postings. For the vast pool of entry-level talent, transitioning from academia to the corporate world can be a daunting challenge. Although students graduate with theoretical knowledge, they often lack the practical know-how and problem-solving skills required by employers.

I believe a collaborative effort is required, bringing together industry leaders, academic institutions and the government to design effective solutions. Initiatives such as skill development platforms, available both online and offline, can equip students with industry-relevant skills beyond their curriculum. Agreat example is the "TASK" platform initiated by the Government of Telangana, offering job opportunities to students, enabling them to enrol, get certified and showcase their skills.

Also, the key lies in designing education programmes that align with the demands of the job market. Encouraging students to identify and pursue the skills that enhance their employability upon graduation is essential. Itnecessitates academia's involvement in skill development alongside theoretical education. Industry experts can contribute significantly by creating awareness about tech platforms and organising coding contests, hackathons and boot camps to nurture students' practical expertise.

Extending skill development programmes beyond urban centres is of utmost importance. Unlocking the potential of untapped talent in rural colleges and universities is imperative. A recent Randstad India report indicates that India's job landscape is experiencing a shift away from Tier-1 cities, with Tier-2 cities emerging as significant talent hubs, due to the rise of remote work opportunities, improved skilling prospects in Tier-II cities and the expansion of various industries into these regions. As a result, recruiters are increasingly drawn to Tier-2 cities, with 54 per cent of employers expressing their intention to hire candidates from both Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Itunderscores the growing availability of diverse talent in these areas, making them increasingly relevant in today's job market.

Nurturing growth through lateral hires

With the rise of automation and technological advancements across industries, the concept of lifelong learning has taken centre stage, impacting both entry-level talent and experienced professionals. Even seasoned professionals must adapt to evolving job requirements to remain relevant in a rapidly changing job market.

According to a NASSCOM report on India's tech industry talent, the country is actively working to reskill its core tech workforce across various sectors. In FY2021, a substantial 65-70 per cent of digital talent gained in India was through reskilling efforts. However, we need to accelerate the pace to bridge the digital skill gap and establish a strong presence in the global tech market.

Despite a global shortfall in tech talent, India's demand-supply gap is relatively low at 21.1 per cent, especially when compared to other top tech locations like the U.S., China and the UK. With an annual supply of 2.14 million STEM graduates, India ranks second globally in this area. Nevertheless, the country is currently undergoing a massive tech transformation, as corporates, academia and the public sector are all transitioning towards an "all-digital" era.

Indian firms are increasingly prioritising learning and development initiatives. Companies must adopt a talent development approach that emphasises upskilling and reskillingto address the situation. Encouraging lateral hires to embrace continuous learning through incentives can foster a culture of growth within organisations. For example, incorporating skill development as part of the employee benefits programme, where individuals can access resources to upskill themselves, can prove highly beneficial.

Empowering India's tech future

Indian technology talent is a valuable resource for corporations, with global corporations having capability centres in India employing five million people. As the country solidifies its position as a technology and innovation hub over the next two decades, the IT services sector will experience accelerated growth, with a shift towards transformational and expertise-based services. Forrester even reports that tech spending in India is projected to increase by 9.6 per cent this yearand IT spending growth is on track to regain pre-pandemic levels, with even brighter prospects anticipated for 2024.

It's crucial to adopt a forward-looking approachto secure a brighter future for India's workforce and economy. Itinvolves fostering collaboration among academia, industry and the government. Institutions must emphasise skill-based learning from early education, not just academic excellence. Practical skills and problem-solving abilities mustbe given equal importance. Promoting a culture of continuous learning and professional development within organisations will benefit individual careers. Together, these efforts can pave the way for a brighter future for India's tech workforce and the larger economy.

(The writer is a , Manager, Talent Acquisition, Progress)

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