The government of India’s fifth Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP), drafted in 2020, heralds the need for the nation to develop a robust stakeholder-driven approach towards sustainable economic development and social inclusion that propels India to become one of the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come. To achieve this weighty goal, equitable access to science and technology skill building, training and infrastructure development is essential.
The concepts of skilling, upskilling and reskilling are not new to individuals or organizations, however, now, they need to feature at the top of the priority list. With rapid acceleration of technology adoption across industries, further reinforced by the STI Policy and its goal to achieve ‘Atmanirbharta’ in this domain, the workforce must equip itself suitably. The McKinsey Global Institute announced that 14% of the global workforce will need to learn new skills or switch occupations by 2030, due to changes led by automation and artificial intelligence. India is no exception to this. Dynamic, consistent and actionable upskilling and reskilling are the need of the hour.
However, to build the scientific temperament of the working population and of those who will soon be a part of it, we must breakdown the rapid advancements currently witnessed in STI. Today, the most coveted digital skills and job profiles include those related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), Big Data developers, Dot Net developers, Data Engineers, Architects and Miners, Cloud Security experts, Automation testers, DevOps, UI and UX designers, among others.
In addition to the burgeoning digital market, the talent demand in India’s telecom sector is expected to grow by 18-20% in 2021 on account of wide-spread adoption of internet services, demand for better telecom networks, and the rollout of fifth-generation or 5G technology. Some of the technical skillsets in demand include RF engineers, fibre laying, testers, quality check engineers, field engineers, RAN & Core Network product developers, Data Path developers, Switching and Routing Solution developers among others. All in all, technology skilling is a top priority for 2021.
Digital platforms, MOOCs and skilling institutes that provide easy, affordable and equitable access to these S&T skills will prove to be essential enablers in readying the workforce for the rapid advancements in STI. These platforms will be further fortified by a learning consortium announced by the Government in the new STI policy; which will create new online courses, simulations, a virtual reality repository, as well as virtual and remote labs that enabling immersive experiential learning in STI. Organizations can leverage these platforms to fill technology skill gaps, strengthen the talent pipeline, optimize worker utilization, develop home-grown apps, and augment their market competitiveness.
Up-skilling an organization’s teams elicits higher job satisfaction amongst employees and augments their productivity and dedication towards business goals. It can be said with certainty that the advent of the new STI policy, advancements in technology across industries and digital adoption catalyzed by Covid-19, skilling will be at the top of the people agenda for 2021. This new era of innovation will favor those who invest their resources and thought processes deeply in science and technology.
It is best to approach skilling, upskilling and reskilling by treating one’s workforce as dynamic and flexible resources rather than employees with set-in-stone job roles. This will allow transformation and empowerment of the workforce while retaining the existing talent pool, and enabling to solve the challenges of a modern-day business with alacrity. While the advancement of STI has been prevalent long before the pandemic, it is more relevant now than ever to adapt science and technological innovations to upskill workforces, given the current rise of hybrid employment ecosystems.
By Vijay Sivaram, CEO, Quess IT Staffing