India’s amazing job engine, the IT industry, is about to change big time. Past two decades witnessed the practice of getting a job in IT Company, the fastest way to increase your income. The industry worked as a launch pad for prosperity to millions of young Indians; including kids of cooks, peons, drivers and security guards, who propelled themselves in the middle class in a single generation by, taking up a job in BPO. The result, hundreds of engineering colleges flourished overnight stirring out more than a million graduates’ year on year to feed the limitless demand of these Indian IT factories.
However; this festivity is about to end. The fine blend of diminishing demand, rising competition and evolving technological change clearly indicates, that companies now will hire few people as compared to past decades. Automation can displace a third of all jobs within three years admitted Wipro’s CEO while Infosys CEO Sikka says we aim to increase revenue per employee by 50%. Companies will hire far fewer people, says NASSCOM, the industry association known for its optimism. And this is not a temporary anomaly – slow growth is the new normal.
Ever increasing number of newer graduates waiting for jobs will not be the only task; the newly unemployed will also pose a challenge, as organizations will solely focus on optimum utilization, enhanced employee productivity and consistent performance. Automation of tasks – currently executed by several employees, the fleet of managers who supervised these employees, and many more with those mediocre performance and not having hot skills – are the ones breathing on ventilator.
Are you the one about to get extinct in this evolution? What would you term to be the best career advice at this juncture? I strongly recommend that we embrace the reality and accept the fact that the game has changed and it has changed for better. The saddest thing one can do at this time is to be hopeful and wait for the good times – which never will return. However; there are a lot of opportunities because the industry might be facing destruction, but it is “creative destruction”. Though new technology is abolishing old jobs, but simultaneously is creating new ones as well. There is a huge demand for mobile app developers and web application developers, data engineers and scientists, and cyber security experts. This means whoever is a quick learner, possesses real expertise and experience, will have ample opportunities.
This it seems is the best time for people with entrepreneurial instincts. India being a supply controlled economy offers huge scope to start the kind of business you can think of: may it be a beauty parlor, a bakery, catering services, car-washing joint, mobile/electronics repair outlet, a laundry, housekeeping services, tailoring unit and what not. If you are an entrepreneur with social morality, there certainly are scopes for social enterprises engaged in delivering affordable education, healthcare and financial services. Opportunities for startups are a thing of the past, as they already are an “in” thing, as new or to be entrepreneurs are less embarrassed in admitting their failure. Furthermore; ever increasing count of investors has made funding projects so very convenient – it was never this easy.
If you are the one who is happy with that 9 to 5 kind of old fashioned job, there are organizations operating out of old economy; looking out for talents such as Accountants, Manufacturing and Service Engineers, sales representatives and many more. Evolving technology has also introduced us to ‘sharing services” such as City cool cabs, Chartered cabs and Apple cabs, which have successfully offered rewarding self-employment. Encounter a cab driver who makes 30K to 40K rupees per month – not an uncommon sight.
If I may simplify, India might be facing larger than life challenges in generating adequate jobs for younger population and even at the individual level. However; it would be wrong to say that there are no opportunities. What counts here is your positive attitude. IT boon was the wind that blew the leaves – even the ones that had fallen from the tree, the mediocre ones. But the boon worked as food to prerogative approach and mediocracy became the benchmark.
The revolutionary technological advancements and the job markets need just two virtues from you. The first one is the correct attitude – the one that is positive. Have that hunger to succeed. Proactively seeking opportunities and not waiting for that moment of truth – where either you are fired or waiting for that fortune cookie to be popped in your mouth. Increase your risk taking appetite and persistently work hard to transform humility and frugality into success. Ability and attitude to learn new things, happens to be the second virtue. Global markets are turning volatile and changing dynamically, so whatever skills you possess may become irrelevant in a decade or so. The mortality rates is going down, which altogether makes it much more necessary for us to enhance our ability to learn new things, develop new competencies and constantly reinvent ourselves. Unfortunately, a lot of us have lost that instinct of curiosity along with interest in reading and learning. The future is set to step away from such individuals.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die; alike are the minds that don’t change their opinions” Friedrich Nietzsche