Jobs at risk? Half of Indian IT staff to be irrelevant in 3 years: McKinsey

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Indian IT services players may have to re-skill significant chunks of their workforce to drive the digital technology transformation. 

Global advisory firm McKinsey & Company says in a report, which was presented at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum on Friday, nearly half of the workforce in the IT services firms will be “irrelevant” over the next 3-4 years. 

The report has suggested that IT services providers must turn around their businesses in five major ways such as explosion of new service lines and solutions, investment to build new capabilities, coexistence of digital transformation and traditional services, acquisitions and re-skilling employees with emerging technologies. 

McKinsey India Managing Director Noshir Kaka says the bigger challenge ahead for the industry will be to retrain 50-60 per cent of the workforce as there will be a significant shift in technologies.  The industry employs 3.9 million people and the majority of them have to be retrained.

Industry players such as TCS and Infosys have said they will look at re-skilling and leveraging the experienced workforce at the same time to drive the digital transformation. 

The $150 billion IT services industry is passing through an uncertain time as the growth in digital technologies like cloud-based services is not yet adequate to offset the decline in the traditional technology business. Many industry players believe the change in technology service demand is happening at a “much faster” pace. 

“One part of digital is about the technology. But the other part of digital is about the context and the environment, and other things like leveraging the experience of the people who know the industry. The kind of skills we are looking for today are different, it is important to learn some of the new technologies and re-skilling is important. It is a combination of things,” said Pravin Rao, chief operating officer, Infosys. 

“A lot of the workforce is re-skillable. I am not very pessimistic, but there a challenge,” said Srinivas Kandula, Country Head, India, Capgemini. 

Rao said Infosys had already taken initiatives to train its employees in digital technologies and had started platforms like Zero Distance to drive innovation. 

“The talent gap is largely overemphasised and I do not think we should worry about it. The engineering skills, the analytical skills and the talent we have is world-class and recognised, and every single employee is performing in a highly competitive environment,” said N Ganapathy Subramaniam, President, TCS Financial Solutions. 

Subramaniam said the talent in India was capable enough to transform with the change and they need to be re-skilled.

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