How to answer Indian IT sector’s retrenchment problem


The recent disquiet in the IT Services industry over employee retrenchment has brought into sharp focus the need for constant employee reskilling/upskilling. The Simplilearn Customer Insight Survey illustrated the fact that a negligible percentage IT workers in the age group of 35-55 saw a career increment this last year. Also, the fact that a majority of the layoffs were middle management jobs only goes to show the increasing skill gaps despite companies’ growing budgets being allotted to developing skill sets in this fast evolving industry. This scenario isn’t restricted to the technology industry alone – most services industries (more so than say manufacturing or agriculture) will vouch for the impact that new technologies and changing trends have on their businesses.

Some, like Lynda Gratton, professor of management practice at London Business School[1], who leads the Future of Work consortium, argue that the role of middle management is fast disappearing. [2]She reckons that technology is rapidly replacing middle managers with its ability to monitor performance closely, provide instant feedback, and even create reports and presentations. Add in this mix the emergence of Gen Y in the workforce, who see no value in reporting to someone who simply keeps track of what they do, and we have a situation that promises to unravel further with time. And this is giving global CEOs sleepless nights.

According to The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2015, Human capital[3] was the foremost challenge listed with provision of training to upskill workforce being intricately linked to improving productivity and building a performance culture. Of the 1095 CEO’s polled across the globe, a majority of them put human capital challenges ahead of other areas like innovation, customer relationships, operational excellence and global political & economic risk.

In this context, how do employees respond? Building a successful career today depends on constantly adding value to the job and staying relevant to the company’s growth objectives. Especially in a sector like information technology, where today’s technologies are redundant tomorrow, it is imperative for employees to constantly upgrade key skills to stay ahead of the disruption curve. Defining a career pathway and growing successfully in one’s desired career line requires an openness and willingness to learn and being in constant touch with changing industry trends or be caught in a situation where automation catches up.

Companies do invest in training and development of their employees. It’s the quality and applicability of that training beyond the immediate project that one is working on that is often questioned by outsiders. The other moot point is whether the training imparted by companies to their staff relevant to make them future ready or merely to help them deliver on the current project they are deployed in. One can safely conclude that it becomes imperative for individuals to look out for their own interests and future proof their careers.

Even if one discounts redundancies in the workforce due to the onset of automation and technology, other challenges like stagnation and boredom are bound to get to people after pursuing the same pursuing the same domain for years on end. One of the easiest and safest ways to achieve constant career progression and avoid mid-career crisis is by upskilling.

Online certification courses offer the perfect solution of universally accepted certification for skill set recognition, the choice of selecting courses according to industry trends and demand and the option of completing the course at one’s convenience overcoming busy schedules.

Some of the key advantages of online trainings are elaborated below:

Freedom of scheduling one’s own class: Online courses provide flexibility towards professionals for scheduling their own classes in a particular time that is suitable for the individual. Students can study and work when they are at their convenience, during any time of the day. Course materials are always accessible online, so there’s no need to visit a library. All of these aspects makes online learning a good option for students who need to balance their work and family commitments and at the same time overcome mid-career blues.

Comfortable and relaxed learning environment: Students can take up the course in their own comfort zone. The hassle of attending a physical class and be presentable amongst other students can be avoided. Lectures and other materials are electronically sent to the student for their own consumption. Students can prepare themselves and appear for exam at their own convenience.

Quick feedbacks and Exam scores: All the gradation happens on an instant basis and the feedbacks, scope of improvements are also provided real time. Most online courses come with a simple-to-use interface complete with e-mail, discussion boards, assignment page and profile pages for other students, video tutorials, and news updates. Receiving feedback from a professor is also extremely easy as most of the online courses are equipped with chat sessions with respective mentors.

Savings in time and money: By eliminating travel expenses, registration costs, consultant fees, and other expenses associated with seminars and on-site meetings one can afford to save a lot of time and money. Scheduling and implementing online learning is much less time-consuming than planning and implementing physical classes.

Provides real time simulation environment: Post completing each module, students are encouraged to take part in a real life scenario and come up with a solution. The final grades depends on the solution provided to the scenario. Individuals are allowed to consult with their mentors before starting the simulation.

Currently, companies providing online professional certification courses also provides access to live projects and simulation tests to the participants so that they get adapted to the current job requirements.

To sum up, online certification courses have come as a boon to many of professionals hard-pressed for time and who want to overcome their mid-career crisis by keeping themselves updated.

(About the author: This article has been contributed by Mr. Krishna Kumar, Founder and CEO of Simplilearn.com)


[1] http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1018927/hr-skills-futuring-role-middle-manager-dead-leading-academic#sthash.CW5Yzynv.dpuf [2] http://lyndagrattonfutureofwork.typepad.com/lynda-gratton-future-of-work/2011/01/did-management-really-end-.html [3] http://employeeengagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2015-CEO-Challenge-Conference-Board-Report1.pdf

(Image: India Times)
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