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To keep your job, key tech and data skills will be critical

Only highly skilled jobs requiring significant creativity and analytical thinking such as in data science and analytics, architecture, and media and entertainment will reportedly remain for humans by 2030, said a FICCI-EY report.

M Saraswathy - Special Correspondent, Moneycontrol

Rationalisation - industry talk for layoffs - of white-collared workers has already started in India.

Online marketplace Snapdeal has said that it will undertake layoffs within the organisation. Similarly, mergers between large telecom players are expected to lead to some pruning of staff.

While India Inc is gearing up for any knee-jerk reactions, HR consultants feel that the key would be to reskill staff in areas of technology and data analytics.

Sunil Goel, Managing Director of GlobalHunt, said that as consolidation is happening across sectors, companies only want to retain talent that are relevant to their sector. “In sectors like BFSI [banking, financial services and insurance] where automation has come in a big way, skill enhancement will be the only key to retain the job,” he said.

Consolidation has also made several roles redundant. In sectors such as banking where mergers have been taking place -- associate banks merged with State Bank of India most recently -- human resource consultants said that only those at very senior levels with adequate knowledge of new-age technology such as artificial intelligence, block-chain, robotics and data analytics will be retained.

According to a FICCI-EY report on the future of jobs and its implications on the Indian education system, India will reportedly need to create jobs for around 100 million people who enter the job market over the next decade.

“However, primarily driven by automation of repetitive jobs, India’s IT services industry workforce is expected to shrink by 480,000 by 2021, a reduction of 14 percent,” the report said.

Further, quoting industry experts, the FICCI-EY report added that white-collar middle-level managerial and office administration jobs (mostly "middle class" jobs) will slowly disappear, largely giving way to automated systems. Only highly skilled jobs requiring significant creativity and analytical thinking such as in data science and analytics, architecture, and media and entertainment will reportedly be available to humans by 2030.

Adequately skilled talent at senior levels are not seeing an impact, according to James Agrawal, MD, BTI Consultants India (part of Kelly Services). Only those who are not quality talent are facing job losses.

Earlier, public sector banks would cater to the more senior executives and top babus as the bank of their choice. Now, private sector banks have been able to eat a share of that pie as well. Here, vying the same set of customers would mean getting younger staff on board who are well-versed with analytical skills and are also able to establish a brand of the company on social media.

While no official numbers have been put out by human resource firms, various estimates by them suggest that 2 million jobs will be lost in India in the next 2-3 years. Basic degree holders doing regular 9-5 desk jobs with no additional use of skills will be the most hit.

Vinu Nair, Managing Partner, Antal International said with respect to the IT space, technology adoption would mean some mundane jobs will go, but the experience and domain knowledge will not be wasted by companies and hence reskilling would happen.

“Senior executives with 20 plus years have a higher wall to climb given that accounts are not growing at the CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] levels of the previous decade and also because there are ‘budding managers’ who have more skills and come at a lower cost,” he said.

While many companies have tie-ups with skilling and global training firms to skill their talent, human resource experts also said that Indian corporates are also increasingly setting up their own institutes to retrain and reskill existing talent.