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Must Read: The future of jobs in India

By Divya Nair
December 26, 2017 09:01 IST
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'The rule for millennials is: You can have a career for life.'
'You have to constantly adapt to the needs of the industry to stay relevant.'
'The jobs will be the same, but the skill sets required will be different.'
'Technology will dominate the nature of jobs available in the future.'

'GST reforms to increase hiring up to 18 per cent'

Gone are the days when you got a degree, appeared for an interview, and secured a job. And kept it for life.

Both educational institutions and recruiters are pushing the envelope each day, looking for candidates with multi-dimensional skills, flexibility and a vision for the future.

Technology and social media are adding to the competition each day.

While recruiters have become choosy about hiring, colleges are finding new ways to produce employable graduates.

Are we doing enough to create more jobs? What can be done to increase employability? To create more entrepreneurs?

Sonal AroraSonal Arora , vice-president, Team Lease Services Limited, a vocational training and staffing company, explains to's Divya Nair how technology will dominate the nature of future jobs.


What is the future of jobs in India?

The old rule was: You can have a job for life.

The rule for millennials is: You can have a career for life.

Every job sector undergoes changes over a period of five or ten years, so you have to constantly adapt to the needs of the industry to stay relevant.

You will see a change in the nature of jobs in the next few years. In fact, the jobs will be the same, but the skill sets required will be different.

Technology will play a major role; in fact it is going to dominate the nature of jobs available in the future.

All these years, we have been hearing that automation will be the future.

Banking, manufacturing and e-commerce sectors will move to automation, so the nature of some current jobs will change.

When technology takes over, we'll need lesser human resources to manage certain services.

How will the nature of jobs change?

Let's consider customer services. When customer services shift to automation, the nature of service offered will be different.

After automation, when you log into a bank's Web site or call a phone banking service, your initial requests will be attended to by bots.

Some banks have already moved to bots, but not entirely.

The future of customer services is there will be fewer human resources employed at the entry/front desk level.

Over a period of time, only escalated customer queries will be attended by a human officer.

Those in customer service profiles will have to stay abreast with the latest technology. They must know how to manage technology from a higher end.

The skill sets required in customer services will be different.

A lot of companies are already using data analytics to track consumer behaviour. So those in sales profiles should know how to exploit data to bring in more revenue.

Does that mean that current jobs will become invalid?

Not entirely. In India, the rural-urban divide is too large. 70 per cent jobs in rural India are informal.

In the banking sector itself, rural banking is very different from urban banking. So, not all jobs will demand an immediate makeover of skill sets.

The nature of jobs available will also depend on the types of markets the company is invested in.

The State Bank of India, for example, will be interested in penetrating rural markets, but HDFC or ICICI may have different interests.

So, the functions and nature of jobs in similar sectors will also be different.

In a recent report, you suggested the importance of regulatory reforms to enhance the quality of jobs.
Could you please tell us what these reforms are and how they will aid the creation of jobs?

We keep saying that India needs to create more entrepreneurs. The sad reality is that doing business in India is very difficult.

Most labour and trade laws in the country are archaic and have little or no relevance in the modern day.

In India, 70 per cent jobs are in the informal, low productivity, sectors (daily wage labourers) and there has been a 100 per cent rise in jobs in this sector.

These jobs are not covered or protected by any laws. To bring them under the formal category will take time.

There is an urgent need for sustained reforms which will help those in informal jobs to move to the formal sector and boost productivity.

The disparity in the salary deducted at source in the formal and informal sectors, for instance, is too high.

In India, at least 35 per cent salary is confiscated at source, which is the highest in the world.

This disparity discourages people in the informal sector to move to the formal sector.

Add to this, the monopoly of the Employee Provident Fund Organisation and Employee State Insurance Corporation.

EPFO is India's most expensive government securities mutual fund and ESIC is one of the world's most expensive health insurance programmes by claims ratio and health insurance benefits.

But only 48 per cent of its contributions are paid out as benefits.

The Factories Act of 1948 -- which defines a factory as a enterprise which employs 40 or more workers -- does not cover small factories.

In India, 70 per cent factories employ less than 50 workers in their unit, which means they are not covered or benefitted from the Act.

A standalone Small Factories Bill will help SMEs to flourish, which in turn will create more jobs.

The Trade Union Act currently allows 25 per cent officers of the Trade Union to be members of unions despite being outsiders.

This implies that the workers who are not directly employed under a particular employer also can stand against that employer in case of a dispute.

The concept of outsiders interfering in the matters of an organisation exists only in India.

This leads to criminalisation of unions, leading to industrial conflict.

The Act should be amended to make it mandatory that 100 per cent of the officers in a trade union must be employed in the organisation.

These changes, I believe, will improve the participation and functioning of employees across sectors.

Which sectors will dominate hiring in the next five years?

The recent GST reforms will have a major say in creating more jobs.

Sectors like automobiles, logistics, retail, e-commerce, media and entertainment and cement which are benefitted by GST, will see 11 to 18 per cent increase in hiring.

The IT and ITes will see 10 to 12.5 per cent boost in hiring.

Consumer durables, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications will create 10 to 13 per cent more jobs.

Artificial intelligence will create more jobs globally.

How can educational institutions contribute towards creating employable graduates?

Colleges have to adapt their curriculum and make it industry relevant. Most colleges follow curriculum which is in isolation to the industry requirements. This proves disadvantageous to students.

The reason top companies are hiring from tier 1 institutes is because they have structured collaboration with industries.

Colleges need to take into account that the average salary of an IT professional is higher than that of a BA, BCom degree holder. If this has to change, your curriculum has to be future proof.

You have to plan your curriculum and prepare for at least five years ahead.

How can young Indians prepare for the emerging job market?

Like I said, technology is going to be the future, so:

  • a. You have to be tech-savvy.
  • b. You have to relearn your skills from time to time.
  • c. You cannot have a degree and call it education for life; you must believe in learning for life.

How much role will social media play in creating jobs?

Thank you for bringing this up. Social media has become a key tool for organisations to both hunt talent and connect with its customers.

We are not just talking about LinkedIn or recruitment services. Many organisations are using social media analytics to decode consumer behaviour so they can serve better and efficiently.

One needs to understand that social media has blurred the lines between personal and public life.

If you are on social media, there is nothing called 'private' or 'personal' any more.

Recruiters are watching over profile updates and posts of candidates to validate hiring and understand if s/he is the right fit for the job.

If you want to be hired, it is important to be disciplined and maintain transparency on social media.

Be careful about what you post online.

While you nurture a strong opinion on something, ensure it does not come across as harmful, hateful, negative or regressive.

Kindly note: Photograph posted only for representational purposes.

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Divya Nair /