artificial intelligence

Entire work dynamic will transform radically in the next few years: Vikram Ahuja, Talent500

Remote working will be a major factor of the global future of work, given that flexibility is the core principle.

Technology has changed the way we work, and now it is expected to transform the way we humans live and work. However Artificial Intelligence (AI) will contribute to economic growth via contributions to productivity. It is the biggest factor of Future of Work because it can transform the nature of work and the workplace itself.

We talked to Vikram Ahuja, Co-founder, Talent500, about how AI is essential to the future of work. Talent500 is a Career accelerator & talent discovery platform that curate exclusive opportunities from leading Fortune 500 companies and global industry leaders. Excerpts:

DQINDIA Online | DATAQUEST

DQ: How do you see the impact of AI on the Indian labor market?

Vikram: AI and ML are, and will continue to positively impact the recruitment aspect of the labour market in two key ways: screening and matching. Traditionally speaking, recruitment is a human intensive vertical where companies rely on talent acquisition teams, recruiters, headhunters and referrals to source the right candidates.

However, this dependency tends to be inefficient. The solution is to use AI and ML to complement the human effort in finding the best fitting candidates that have the qualities and skills required not just to satisfy a job description, but also a company’s culture. Our mission at Talent500 is to do just that and serve our clients with the highest quality and most relevant candidates in the market.

In regard to screening and matching, the objective is to assess a candidate further in more depth than just a CV. Primarily, our ML algorithms analyze hundreds of candidate data points related to hard and soft skills, years of experience, previous companies, projects…etc. and predict a fitment score toward a particular role and company. The higher the score, the better chance the candidate has of a successful career.

Other important things we do for candidate screening are dynamic assessment tests, screening questions and video CVs. All these processes are aided by AI at varying levels and help give our clients a 360 assessment of each candidate we put forward, and all our talent in general.

All our AI and ML algorithms are built on top of 15 years of experience and millions of data options from having helped some of the world’s largest companies hire more than 70,000 professionals.

DQ: What are the sectors likely to have immediate and later impacts? Why?

Vikram: Our client Global Capability Centres (GCCs) operate in a range of sectors including retail, banking and financial services, CPG, airlines, fashion and more. The goal of creating a GCC is to push technology innovation in the medium to long run. By that standard, every company we work with is a technology company to a certain degree.

Accordingly, Talent500 is primarily focused on discovering India’s top tech talent to place in exciting innovation roles. This includes software engineers, data scientists and analysts, DevOp specialists, mobile developers, business analysts…etc.

In tech recruitment, we are seeing immediate benefits of using AI and ML solutions toward candidate to company fitment. The main reason is simply that computers can analyze and predict fitment more efficiently and effectively than people can. However, people always need to define the evaluation parameters and hence, cannot be replaced. We believe that we can apply these methods to most business sectors since the fundamentals remain unchanged.

Perhaps examples of sectors that may be difficult to crack are art, sports, music and entertainment, where human judgement is critical and the subjectivity factors are a lot higher.

DQ: How is the job redesign for the future going to look like?

Vikram: We believe that the entire work dynamic will transform quite radically in the next few years and Talent500 is an agent of this transformation.

The current model is quite rigid in the sense that it doesn’t give talent the power of choice, nor does it give companies options in terms of employment structures. The main employment models are full-time employment, fixed term and freelance contracts. We are establishing the future of work to place flexibility at the core. This model is also known as the gig economy.

For talent, this means they can explore opportunities within each employment model. This is a plus as workers can take on short term projects that will add to their capabilities and bolster up their skills. They are also free to apply for full-time employment with a single employer in case they want more stability. Ultimately, it is completely up to the talent. We are simply offering the platform and opportunity. We believe this is the future and this belief has been validated in a survey we conducted with 20,000 active professionals – 60% of whom would consider going all gig.

For organisations, the gig economy will help them manage certain risks. Innovation is usually a long-game, particularly, technological innovation for non-technology companies. Organisations of all sizes will be able to run pilots and experiments with freelancers and contractors, as opposed to full time employees.

DQ: You say that digital platforms can increase the survival rate of firms. Is there a need for all businesses to go online?

Vikram: This depends on the business and the vertical it is operating under. However, it is difficult to think of any industry that has not been impacted by digital technologies, or technology in general. Today, technology impacts all areas of a business – from customer acquisition and experience, distribution, supply chain and operations.

DQ: Do you see remote working here to stay, for the future?

Vikram: Remote working will be a major factor of the global future of work, given that flexibility is the core principle. Undoubtedly, offices and workspaces will remain important and we don’t believe they will become obsolete. However, there are many disciplines that can be performed remotely like software development and digital marketing. The cost-saving benefit of remote working will be a point of consideration as well.

Remote working has also taken globalisation a step further. Companies will no longer be limited by geography when it comes to hiring, and can source talent from all over the world without the worry of visas and travel restrictions.

DQ: What kinds of roles would be relevant for the future of work?

Vikram:We believe it will begin with the IT, software and data related disciplines. Below are the specific functions we foresee being in high demand. cHowever, as the gig economy unfolds, there will be opportunities for all professionals. C-suite executives may not qualify since they are required to commit to organisations.

Artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, popularly known as AI, is impacting all industries – from medicine, law and engineering to manufacturing and management. Using AI, organisations are automating mundane jobs with bots and creating more efficiencies, while making day-to-day lives better and more productive.

Data Analytics
“Data is the new oil” is believed to be the new mantra today. With almost every organisation going digital, consumers today create trillions of data points with their digital footprint, thus opening up new opportunities with personalisation, content and information delivery and more.

Robotic Process Automation
RPA is another tech based automation process similar to AI and Machine Learning. It uses software to automate business processes like business flows, transactions, email management and more. RPA offers roles such as project manager, developer, business analyst, consultant and many more.

Cloud Specialists
As more businesses start thinking of replacing legacy systems and processes with more lightweight and scalable cloud based applications, cloud specialists drive this transition by understanding current business processes and rethinking this with cloud in mind.

Specialised Sales Specialists
As more companies innovate and build products very specific for industries or solving previously complex problems, there will be a need for specialist sales teams who will look to bring a mix of business and technology understanding to the market in the best manner possible

Product Designers
Product designers design most things we use in our day-to-day lives, from chairs and cutlery to clocks and computers, as well as specialist products like medical, electronics or telecommunications equipment. They aim to improve the way that existing products work and look and/or produce them at a lower cost. They may also be involved in designing entirely new products. Product designers work closely with engineers, model makers, sales and marketing staff. They use drawings, 3-D models and computer designs to express their ideas. They should understand technology, production methods and materials, and be able to meet deadlines and work within budgets.

HR and Organisational Development Specialists
Tasked with continuously making organisational improvements across all departments in their company by evaluating and identifying opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Not only do they plan, coach, and consult with individuals and teams to solve organizational challenges, they also design and implement training and performance programs. Collaboration and communication with staff and management is also a key part of the job.

Full-stack Engineers
Fullstack engineers or developers work on both the back-end and front-end of systems. This means that they can develop fully fledged platforms (with databases, servers and clients) which don’t need other applications to function. They use a range of different technologies and languages (such as Java, JavaScript, HTML, PHP and C#) to develop applications. “Fullstackers” approach software holistically since they cater to both user experience and functionality.

Information Security
Specialists in information and cyber security are among the most sought-after professionals in the tech sector as businesses and governments seek to fight off an increasingly daring and ruthless cohort of global cyber criminals and hackers. Skilled and dedicated security specialists work in this field that demands a mix of artistry and technical expertise. They need to be constantly one step ahead of the hackers and organised criminals behind a new crime wave. There is increased potential for career progression, especially in larger organisations and financial service providers.

Privacy / Regulatory Specialists
Privacy and regulatory specialists help companies or organisations meet all state, local, federal, international, and industrial regulations that apply to their products. Most often, they work in the F&B, pharmaceutical, and medical devices industries, though many other companies—such as those that produce automotive or mechanical components, and even financial services—also require regulatory compliance.

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