India can emerge as reskilling hub in post-covid world, tech leaders say


Bengaluru: India could emerge as a global reskilling hub in a post-pandemic world, executives of India’s technology and business process management companies told The Economic Times.

“All our clients are faced with reskilling challenges. If you go to the CEO (of any company) and say what are the top three or four challenges they face, guaranteed 80% of the time they would say, you know, talent and reskilling,” said Genpact CEO Tiger Tyagarajan.

He was speaking to ET at a virtual round table with the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) on ‘Digital Transformation Is About Talent, Not Technology’. The other panelists were IBM India MD Sandip Patel,

CEO C.P. Gurnani, and Amit Aggarwal, CEO of IT-ITeS sector skill council at the industry body.

“We have systems processes, cultures, certification methodologies, frameworks and technologies. We must position ourselves, starting with the government,” Tyagarajan said. “I think it will attract attention from world leaders, I can guarantee you that the US administration will be excited if India says we will help reskill (its workforce) because that’s what we are good at.”

Nasscom with Indian IT firms has reskilled over a third of the 4.5 million workforce in India in digital skills, helping the tech sector grow in a pandemic year. Indian firms are seeing business grow as
many first-time outsourcers and existing clients are tapping into the country’s talent to transform their business in a digital world.

“We have the capability and there can be a much better way of using data to analyze and predict and be ready for a Market A or a Market B,” Gurnani said. (We know about the) Japan’s ageing population. Will we wait for somebody else to solve the (skills training) problem? Or will we go ahead and solve that problem?”

The government has national programmes to not only skill its workforce in traditional areas of manufacturing and services, but also in newer skills such as digital marketing and supply chain. The technology and business process management sector has focused on reskilling employees with latest technology shifts to remain relevant and grow their business.

“We already are doing that, in terms of creating a platform to create a skills hub in India. So it’s this notion of not just in India, for India, but also for the world,” said IBM’s Patel.

Moreover, Indian edtech startups are independently skilling citizens overseas to build profitable businesses, similar to what BPOs did in previous decades, said Aggarwal of Nasscom. “”We can teach the world skilling, and create massive job opportunities just by doing that. It’s a fantastic movement that’s happening in India today, there are at least eight or nine companies doing this at a reasonable scale,” he said.

India’s technology industry is pegged to report revenue of $194 billion in FY21 at a growth of 2.3% year on-year,
according to Nasscom. The IT industry saw 138,000 new hires in the last year taking the total headcount to 4.47 million.

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