SMEs must train workforce in AI, Machine Learning, but haven’t spent money on it yet

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Published: October 24, 2019 1:14:35 PM

Technology for MSMEs: 40 per cent of the businesses are looking to fill the gap in tech talent by upskilling their current employees while 37 per cent would be taking the hiring route even as another 22 per cent companies are eyeing outsourcing tech roles.

Despite the awareness, 47 per cent of the businesses haven’t assigned the budget for upskilling.

Technology for MSMEs: As the fourth industrial revolution is seemingly upon us with deep technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) being its key drivers, small and emerging businesses in India are increasingly becoming cognizant of upskilling themselves in modern technologies to drive their future growth, according to a survey by upskilling company Great Learning. AI/ML, digital marketing followed by design thinking are the most crucial skills required to stay relevant in the future, according to 25 per cent, 19 per cent, and 10 per cent of 307 businesses surveyed with the majority being small and medium-sized businesses.

“Lack of skilled talent in technology is among the key problems that businesses face in India. Even though companies know about the need to bridge this gap, they must take steps immediately towards it,” Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning told Financial Express Online.

Importantly, despite the awareness, 47 per cent of the businesses haven’t assigned the budget for upskilling yet even as nearly 30 per cent firms said that they spend over Rs 1 lakh per employee per annum on upskilling and another around 14 per cent spend over Rs 3 lakh per employee per annum for the same.

Also read: MSME boost: Govt’s GeM portal signs MoU with Federal Bank; to facilitate funds transfer, payments, more

40 per cent of the businesses are looking to fill the gap in tech talent by upskilling their current employees while 37 per cent would be taking the hiring route even as another 22 per cent companies are eyeing outsourcing tech roles to make up for the deficit. However, Nair said that hiring for tech roles our outsourcing may bridge the gap in the short term, but to keep business strong in future, upskilling is the most effective and cost-efficient route from cost companies.

The government too has been focusing on enabling SMEs with technology upgradation. MSME Secretary Arun Kumar Panda had in September said that the government is looking to increase the number of Tool Rooms for small businesses from current 18 to 153 ahead that will train around 8 lakh youth in different skills.

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