Tech jobs: Making talent ready for the marketplace

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Updated: September 16, 2019 6:52:11 AM

According to Keynesian technological unemployment theory propounded in 1937, technological innovations can affect employment in two main ways – Productivity Effect and Displacement Effect.

Tech, jobs, marketplace, Digital transformation, technological unemployment, unemployment theory, high skilled jobsAs a result traditional high skilled jobs that are centered around such operations would expect in the candidates digital expertise going forward.

Digital transformation and the impact on jobs is by now an accepted phenomenon and the status of readiness for new jobs or preparedness for loss of jobs calls for a thoughtful analysis and comprehensive planning. A deeper understanding of the cause-effect relationships of factors related to employment creation or disappearance and the insights from the technological innovations of the past would be helpful in outlining the trajectory for the future. According to Keynesian technological unemployment theory propounded in 1937, technological innovations can affect employment in two main ways – Productivity Effect and Displacement Effect. Relating this theory to the digital transformation that is taking place in the business and the society at large, productivity effect refers to the impact that is created on account of digital technologies getting integrated with the core operations leading to enhanced output and lowering of costs.

As a result traditional high skilled jobs that are centered around such operations would expect in the candidates digital expertise going forward. Examples of these could be found in the roles related to R&D, engineering function, marketing function and others which would require cutting edge domain expertise and digital skills such as cyber security, IoT, Robotics and Analytics.

On the other hand, displacement effect refers to the impact on employment due to the hitherto not experienced new applications of digital technologies which could be positive and negative. In the current context, we are experiencing the displacement effect in three ways in the context of digital transformation. In the first category, we would find those roles involving repetitive tasks such as clerks, assemblers and others are adopting digital technologies in large measures as a result of which the number of new positions in these roles would diminish or disappear over a period of time. In the second category of displacement effect, we find the new range of exciting applications made possible by a combination of digital technologies and expertise are coming together to create new direct employment opportunities as well as a plethora of new jobs in allied sectors.

The auto sector, for instance, has been experiencing competition from new categories of services businesses such as Uber/Ola who may have impacted auto sales direct to customers and therefore the jobs in auto companies but these services built on the strength of highly effective apps and a brand new phenomenon of zero assets ownership are enabling indirect employment. Apps built around catering and food distribution or merchandise have created thousands of indirect jobs in logistics and delivery with flexible options.

The third category of displacement effect is positive as seen in the creation of new roles and functions such as those related to marketing, content and technology. New roles in user experience, influence marketing, social media, analytics, multi lingual content management and a whole range of technical roles in emerging digital technologies have a huge demand both in the domestic and global market but the talent available currently is not matching the requirements.

Academic institutions and policy planners need to reorient the curriculum incorporating the digital components or technologies as required in every subject – be it Arts, Music, Science or Engineering to make the talent ready for the market place and help create a brighter future for the youth.

(The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company. Viers are personal)

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