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Are you ready for the job market? This is not a question that should be answered without giving thought to the fact that there is a significant technological, demographic and political changes happening worldwide. Specifically, technology will be the force that makes a difference to how we work, skills we need to pick up, and the very nature of work itself. Experts know that artificial intelligence and robots will make many jobs redundant, but they assure us that many other kinds of jobs will open up to us too, for which we must be ready with the appropriate skills.

While investment in technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) is considerable, across sectors. It is investments in advanced technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and robotics that have not taken off as fast as expected, specifically when compared to the global scene. This is will be important because the future of work will not be a routine anymore. It will involve some amount of human-machine interaction and that is why adaptive technology needs to be priority investment.

This doesn’t mean that certain evergreen softer skills will not be in demand. Cognitive skills like critical thinking, creativity, ability to collaborate and build relationships, emotional intelligence, empathy, management/leadership flair and cognitive flexibility, will be just as important across all industries, and at all levels. Even an HBR article pointed out that degrees didn’t teach students skills like resilience, integrity, empathy, learnability and leadership skills. All of which are needed for the future workplace.

India needs this mix of technology and human skill sets to mesh well, if we hope to become the second largest economy in the world by 2050, which we have the potential to be. Whether we get there is another story. Right now the path to this goal is through investment in manufacturing and consumer spending. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report ‘Fast Forward: Relevant Skills for a Buoyant Indian Economy’, India can grow into a $10 trillion economy if the CAGR can be pushed up to 9 percent for the next 20 years. Also mentioned in this report is PwC’s 21st CEO Survey, in which India is seen as the fifth most attractive market for investments.

While, hoping that manufacturing will become the next revenue and job generator, right now more than half of the gross value added (GVA) comes from the service sector. BPOs, IT and software services bring in $154 billion. With upgrading of infrastructure and other important reform initiatives such as digitisation, e-visas, Startup India et all, India is hoping to keep this ball rolling.

For the manufacturing sector to take off, some initiatives like Make in India, the uniform Goods and Services Tax (GST), Ease of Doing Business and the new electronics policy, are already in place. Others like the development of industrial corridors, smart cities to push domestic demand have been mooted. If all this gets implemented, then the manufacturing sector has the potential to reach USD one trillion by 2025. The reality is that manufacturing hubs and seamless logistics to transport goods around take time to happen.

Currently, agricultural produce is seeing a lot of wastage because of inadequate cold storage options and drought conditions don’t help either. This sector is the source of income for 58 percent of the population and earns $274.23 billion for the Indian exchequer. But only increased investments in infrastructure and provision of 100 percent FDI in food products, e-commerce and marketing will help it out of its current rut.

But software services is the big bet because the rising population of young talent in India can be employed here. It also received the most foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows between 2000–18, amounting to $68.62 billion. While the Make in India scheme aims to increase the manufacturing sector’s contribution to 25% of the GDP and create 100 million new jobs by 2022.

PwC has spotted some trends like political shifts, demographics, environment, resources and sustainability concerns, urbanisation and a shift in global economic power. This latter trend is based on the assumption that global economic growth will be driven by the E7 economies of Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey, by 2050.

Keeping these trends in mind, some ‘Worlds of Work’ will crop up that will shape businesses in the future and which will help in “evolution of innovation, community, social responsibility and purely profit-driven businesses” stated the PwC report.

Technology and digitisation is already happening in many ways. Storing work in the cloud, collaborating via social and mobile with clients and colleagues. Artificial intelligence like chatbots are already chatting with you. But augmented and virtual reality as well as Internet of Things (IoT) is playing catch up now. Bangalore is all set to get the first IoT driven factory. The BFSI sector will look at using Blockchain in a major way.

PwC’s India Manufacturing Barometer 2019 found “that 58% of the respondent companies have increased technology integration in R&D, innovation and processes.” So, going digital vertically, horizontally and generally in every aspect of a business’s operations: customer access, business model and product and service offerings is the way forward.

Almost 65% of India’s population is between the ages of 15-59 years. But, compared to the “60-90% global workforce, only 10.8% of the total Indian workforce has undergone any kind of skill training (2.2% with formal training and 8.6% with informal training).” And this needs to change because 4.5 million youngsters are expected to enter the job market each year and with only 2% having undergone any vocational training, it’s not going to be easy for them to get jobs.

However, about 58 percent of the core skills required to perform a job will remain the same. What this means is that “about two-fifths of the skills that are considered insignificant in today’s scenario will be of importance by 2022.”

 

In future, if you want to nail that job interview, you will need technological skill sets but as stated before, holistic skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, relationship building, collaboration, leadership and management, cognitive flexibility, creativity and critical thinking will be as important, if not more so. When working with machines infused with intelligence, ironically, you will need to bring something to your workplace that is also more human.

Manali Rohinesh is a freelance writer who explores financial and non-financial subjects that pique her interest.

Published Date: Jul 12, 2019 10:07 AM | Updated Date: Jul 12, 2019 10:07 AM IST

Tags : #Augmented Reality #Entrepreneurship #future of work #Internet of things #IoT #job market #jobs #Leadership #skilling #virtual reality

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