Article (August-2017)


Time for continuous learning & enhancing skill levels

Achal Khanna

Designation : -   CEO

Organization : -  SHRM India, Gurugram


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1. How do you see the scenario of mass layoffs in IT sector to change in future?
Ans. The rationalization of the manpower in IT industry is not something unusual. As companies are now gearing themselves to respond to the demand for the latest and innovative technologies, redundancies are bound to be identified and reduced. The traditional maintenance & programming solutions required English speaking workforce with basic levels of engineering skills. Automation and digitization have made many of these skills outdated and hence the jobs to be irrelevant. To stay competitive in the market; solutions & services offered by the IT companies are undergoing an overhaul. And this calls for more sophisticated skills to perform the complex jobs. Reiterating that this phenomenon is not uncommon, it is a part of evolution, unfortunately, a painful one. Automation and employment interactions like this have been periodic. 
2. Is there a greater need than ever to stay updated, up-skill, re-skill and remain employable?
Ans. IT space will be constantly evolving. Staying updated, re-skilling cannot be a transitory state to tide over the current threat of employment loss. It has to become a way of life for the employees. Obviously, there is a need for an enabling infrastructure to equip people to re-skill themselves. Besides job losses, there is another worrisome threat for the hundreds of thousands of aspiring engineers at India's IT colleges where the curriculum is still aligned to serve the erstwhile typography of the IT sector. Re-skilling and retraining should not just become the discussion topics but action plans.
3. How can organisations help employees to remain employable?
Ans. Simply laying off employees in the redundant jobs won't solve much for the organizations. And if it does help, it will be very short termed. To stay afloat, organizations would need strengthened client offerings and people who could do these new jobs. More so, in the long term, organisations would need people who could quickly adapt themselves with the changing market demands; employees who learn in synergy, taking business objectives into account. The only way for organizations to future proof themselves is to review their learning culture and agenda. Some of the things that could work are:
  • Align learning strategy that enables the business outcomes. Create learning opportunities for employees to learn pertinent skills and new technologies.
  • Encourage multi-skilling and cross-skilling.
  • Continually evolve the learning agenda to make it an ongoing process than a one - time event.
4. What are the 3 basic rules to follow to stay relevant, updated and employable?
Ans. Performing well in one's job might is no longer a safeguard to stay employed or employable. Few basic things employees could do to stay relevant are:
  • Develop an expertise in an arena which is and will stay marketable in the near future.
  • Continuously learn and enhance one's skill level.
  • Network within and outside the organization to keep a tab on opportunities and the projects which are more in sync with the organization's strategy and market.
  • Volunteer and get involved in the high visibility & impact projects.