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  1. Why India’s top IT industry leaders think it’s time to ‘reskill’, or else be ready to lose your job

Why India’s top IT industry leaders think it’s time to ‘reskill’, or else be ready to lose your job

Amid the concerns being raised in India over the US considering new regulations preventing the extension of H1B visas, predominantly used by Indian software professionals, an old debate hovering over the need of ‘reskilling’ has been fuelled once again.

By: | Published: January 3, 2018 2:41 PM
automation in customer service jobs, artificial intelligence jobs, artificial intelligence danger to jobs, aspiring minds automation danger to jobs, job demands, automation eating jobs Even the situation back home can turn grim soon for IT employees if they fail to reskill themselves at the earliest, top business leaders believe. (Image: Reuters)

Amid the concerns being raised in India over the US considering new regulations preventing the extension of H1B visas, predominantly used by Indian software professionals, as part of president Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative, an old debate hovering over the need of ‘reskilling’ has been fuelled once again. Despite IT companies accounting for less than 15 percent of the visas in the US, the move will still have an adverse bearing on the green card applicants, India’s top IT industry leaders believe.

But the concerns are not limited to those in the US alone. Even the situation back home can turn grim soon for IT employees if they fail to reskill themselves at the earliest, top business leaders believe. Reiterating his views on the importance of reskilling for the Indian software employees, NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar told ET Now that reskilling is very much needed by every employee to retain their job and not become redundant.

Even in July last year, R Chandrashekhar had shared similar views. “The new jobs require higher skills and therefore reskilling has become very important. Reskilling and upskilling has become a topmost priority for employee retention so every employee knows today if they don’t upskill sooner or later they are going to be redundant,”  PTI had quoted him as saying.

NASSCOM President is not the sole voice to raise such concerns in India. Earlier in December last year, Rishad Premji, the Chief Strategy Officer at Wipro, had said that the graduates must look to upgrade their skills constantly. “Given how much change is happening in the technology space, the lifespan of skills is becoming much shorter and as a consequence the need to upgrade faster is that much more important. Upgrading of skills, moving your capabilities into new skill areas is very, very important and organisations and the IT industry is very focused on helping people get there. Reskilling of people to move into new technology areas is a big focus today,” Rishad Premji had told ET Now.

Salil Parekh, the new CEO at Infosys, also addressed company employees emphasising the need to reskill. “Each worker has a role to play in this “world of continuous technology disruption” and that they will have to be ready for the future, geared with necessary skills,” PTI quoted him.

Maximum jobs in India can be outsourced

Around 70-80 percent of jobs in India can be potentially outsourced, a joint study by research firms ICRIER and LIRNEasia had said last year. However, it’s another matter that the companies are reluctant to hire freelancers for their work. “Indian companies are still unwilling to see the benefits of outsourcing to freelancers. Freelancing platforms state that around 70-80 percent of jobs in the country could be potentially outsourced given the right infrastructure,” the study released said. The IT industry with turnover of  $154 billion employs about 3.9 million people.

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