Indian IT industry has reskilled as many people as it recruited last year


  • The Indian IT industry employs 4.3 million people. Of that, only 884,000 or 20% are digitally skilled.
  • According to the IT industry body, lack of digital capabilities and cybersecurity are the two key risks to the growth of the industry.
  • India will need four times its existing digital workforce, over the next three years to cater to the industry demands, NASSCOM said earlier.
The Indian IT industry employs 4.3 million people. Of that, only 884,000 or 20% are digitally skilled. This gap cannot be filled by hiring alone. In fact, last year as many as 205,000 employees were added to the rolls; but the percentage of digital experts in a rapidly transforming sector has not changed.

Almost 65% of the jobs in the IT sector will witness transition in job roles over the next five years due to automation and digitization. But the industry is not equipped to deal with the transition.

Industry body Nasscom is hence calling for massive re-skilling programmes to transform its employees. “Lack of digital capabilities and cybersecurity are the two key risks to the growth of the industry,” a report by Nasscom said.

In fact, various projections say that the country will need four times its existing digital workforce, over the next three years to cater to the industry demands.

As various industries are going towards automation, they are also poaching experts away from the IT sector. Nasscom had earlier said that there are 680,000 people with skills in cloud computing, big data and analytics, and artificial intelligence. But, only 400,000 of them are employed in the IT sector.

As automation invades all sectors, employees across sectors will have to upskill themselves to be employable in an increasingly digital future. Yet, the sector is not taking lack of digital talent as seriously as it should be.

Even though the number of people who are undergoing re-skilling is going up — it’s not enough. About 800,000 people have been re-skilled last year as compared to about 600,000 the year before. But demand is growing much higher than that and the spending on re-skilling is still a pittance to what it should be.

“The $191 billion IT industry in India spends about 1-1.5% in reskilling employees,” Debjani Ghosh, the president of Nasscom. At the company level, few MNCs like Cognizant and Capgemini are aggressive with their re-skilling programmes.

The problem of imparting digital skills is even more significant since few universities are plugging them as a part of education.

Of the 4 million students that enroll in engineering courses in a year, merely 3.5% are employable across software development roles. When it comes to skills in emerging technologies like AI, data science and machine learning, the percentage is much lower, as per reports.

India’s push towards digitisation

In January, India joined hands with the World Economic Forum's Reskilling Revolution to boost participation and adoption of the technology, — which aims to extend education, skills and jobs to a billion people over the decade.

“India is constantly investing in skill development and robust digitalization. Corporates need to build comprehensive digital business strategies. Through our reskilling and upskilling initiatives, we aim to build an agile workforce that keeps up with the technological advancements,” said Marco Valsecchi, country manager and MD of Adecco Group India.

See also:
Cognizant to hire 20,000 ‘digitally ready’ freshers — with higher starting salaries of ₹4 lakh per annum

Reskilling startup InterviewBit raises ₹142.6 crore from Sequoia India and Tiger Global

India can become a global offshoring base for AI, predicts a report launched at the World Economic Forum
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