The kind of jobs that will last in future are creative, people-led and social. These are the jobs that automation can’t take away.
Indian industry experts predict that technology will take away over half the jobs that are repetitive and don’t add value in the next five years.
“We have to create jobs and skilling is one route and there are other routes as well. Today technology is impacting anything which is a standardised job. A job that is repetitive and doesn’t add any value is being taken over by technology,” said Shivakumar Dega, chairman and chief executive officer, India Region, PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd.
He was speaking during a panel discussion at India Economic Summit, organised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), on collective action towards re-skilling India in New Delhi.
“Around 40 per cent of current jobs in India will not exist in the next five years. We have two challenges of employment - one is employment and second is underemployment. Too many people are involved in doing the same job. This is because skills are low,” Dega said.
He went on to say that around 72 per cent of India’s workforce is employed in companies that have a staff strength of below 20 people. Another 83 per cent workers are self-employed, casual and contract workers.
“The kind of jobs that will last in future are creative, people-led and social. These are the jobs that automation can’t take away,” he said, giving an example of his company that has stopped sales forecast accuracy through people.
Dega said the forecast was being done through machines and the results were 700 basis point better than the best minds in his company.
He added that his company has not spent a single rupee on headhunting for talent acquisition. It was being done through the social applications and references.
Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan admitted to the reality of automation, innovation and mechanisation taking over formal jobs in the next few years but insisted that such challenges have existed in India for centuries.
Pradhan said India needs to adopt best practices of skilling world-over and there has to be some clarity about India’s “education system.”
“We have to create an ecosystem of respective living, which is technology-savvy, transparent, sensitive and responsive,” said Pradhan, who recently took over India’s skill ministry a month back as an additional responsibility.
Sreenath AV, senior vice-president at Wipro Limited, said reskilling of the employees “is the order of the day in IT company like Wipro.”
“The company has put in a concentrated effort in the past two to three years about cross-training of current and future employees.
Close to 60,000 employees in the past 12 to 18 months have been made future-ready after being provided with new training, certification, making them new and certain projects,” Sreenath said.
Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters