In recent times, the central trade unions are working together to find solutions to mitigate job losses due to technological changes — a recent joint national strike by trade unions being a case in point. Job insecurity has fuelled the formation of unions in the IT/ITes sector which has so far remained untouched by unionisation.
Factual argument in favour of technology –
It is not difficult to see how India is well positioned to benefit from job creation on the back of greater technological penetration. This premise is primarily driven by the following aspects –
- A recent study by Mercer Consulting estimates that over 7 million jobs could be lost by 2020 due to various global disruptions — digitalisation, AI, automation, robotics, longevity, IoT, etc. At the same time, about 2 million jobs will be created in specific sectors. Of these, business and finance ops, management, and computer and mathematics-related job families will see the biggest growth.
- India stands out as the country with likely the largest talent pool surplus. When put together, these estimates position India uniquely to capitalise on the opportunity that will be created through technological and other disruptions given India’s surplus talent pool and strength in the identified job segments. India’s credentials as the world’s top exporter of ICT according to the Global Innovation Index, published by WIPO, Cornell and INSEAD jointly, can only further strengthen its ability to capitalise on this opportunity.
- We must not forget that at the heart of job-creation is our ability to create new businesses and entrepreneurs. Technology is a core enabler of this aspect. Multiple studies by Nasscom, Jones Lang LaSalle’s City Momentum Index, Compass, etc confirm that India is a global growth leader and a leading centre when it comes to startup ecosystems. As new businesses emerge and grow, technology-powered entrepreneurship will be a key platform for millions of jobs in India across all segments of society.
- Technology has enabled connectivity and provided increased access to opportunities. This in turn has led to a robust growth in consumer spending. This is a virtuous cycle which will further create demand for more goods and services and thereby create more business opportunities across all tiers and segments of jobs. The rise of the middle-class in India is the result of such a phenomenon wherein the portion of population categorised as the poorest will have reduced to 22 per cent by 2025 (as opposed to 93 per cent in 1985) with the middle-class comprising over 40 per cent of the population.
Need a robust framework –
How India can take advantage of technology to potentially create millions of jobs will depend on the Government’s ability to orchestrate an ecosystem that helps businesses to benefit from technology to drive innovation and growth. To achieve this, India must focus on a comprehensive policy framework that addresses three key pillars in an integrated manner –
- A calibrated national talent management approach through a deeper labour market analysis as talent scarcity, surprisingly or not, is also on the rise.
- Introducing strong elements of technology and innovation into the country’s education curriculum, backed by systematic institutional collaboration.
- Focus on broadening and/or enhancing existing skill development/re-skilling programmes, including planning around job rotation and mobility support (say, along the lines of NSDC and India Skills Initiative being done in collaboration with the WEF).