The advent of new technologies has started to alter the entire job market where the premium is on different kind of skill sets, and experts representing different industries are advising graduating students and young professionals to be on the path of continuous learning to remain ahead of the curve. At the Indian Express-UpGrad Talks event on the topic ‘Ready for the future of… learning’, held in Bengaluru on Saturday, Ronnie Screwvala, entrepreneur and co-founder of UpGrad, set the ball rolling with the question which is in the mind of all professionals, especially in the tech sector – Do I need to get panicky, or is one going on right path? The short point being how does one get onto the path of learning. Rishad Premji, chief strategy officer, Wipro, said: “Lifespan of skills has dramatically shortened and the ability to learn is the only way forward.”
He felt that employers are demanding skills which are currently in short supply in the market and corporations are also providing platforms for learning. “It is better to get onto to the bus, otherwise you will be left behind. Manish Sabharwal, co-founder of Teamlease Services, put it in a more cryptic fashion. “The notion of lifetime employment has now shifted to a taxi-cab relationship where skills are premium,” he said. Sabharwal was of the view that though the future is unknowable, there is now a massive opportunity to learn. Along with that, inculcating soft skills becomes the critical differentiator. To a question posed by Shaji Vikraman, national editor, The Indian Express, on what employability qualities do employers seek in prospective candidates in the current scenario, Premji felt those who are on the path of continuously upgrading themselves and are willing to learn will fit the bill.
Despite the hiring slowdown in the Indian IT industry, Premji and Sabharwal felt that the sector will continue to add jobs, though skills that will be in demand will be different from what was in the past. “The IT industry in India has started to hire non-technical professionals…so there is a small change,” Premji said.