Srinivas Kandula, Country Head-India, Capgemini, and Member of the Group Executive Committee, speaks to Higher Education Plus exclusively on various topics including Indian higher education standards and IT industry in India.
-By A S L Narasimha Rao
Q. Where do Indian students stand on global platform?
A young India comprises of a large digitally enabled student pool that is marching steadily towards global growth and change. In IT sector specifically, India has become one of the most preferred destinations for hiring qualified workforce.
We feel the nation has a huge pool of talented students who are industry ready and can seamlessly handle the dynamic demands of global job market.
Q. What do you think should the Indian government do to place IITs in the list of 100 top ranking institutions in the world?
It is vital that we look at strengthening the position of our academic institutions at a global level and allocate resources to empower our existing academic community. Indian institutions need to focus on ‘Internationalisation’ with utmost priority by relaxing regulatory norms and pumping in extra funds to ensure the outlined objective is full filled.
The government is taking number of measures to improve overall rankings of IITs and up-scale the reputation of these institutions in every possible way. It constantly encourages universities to adapt to its recently implemented ‘Excellence Initiative’ which includes recruiting more foreign faculty, admitting more foreign students and collaborating with foreign institutions on education and research. We are confident that execution of some of these steps will surely improve the competitive position of Indian institutions on the global map.
With ever-changing market dynamics, new skills and technologies are coming into play at a much faster pace than ever before.
Q. What should Indian universities do to make students industry ready?
Organisations look forward to employees who are multi skilled. Hence, skill development along with supporting on-ground training and certification is required to ensure that aspiring students are better equipped and industry ready.
Various universities are revisiting their curriculums to make it more practical, interesting and job oriented. New age business schools are tying up with global universities to ensure that their students get global academic exposure. A large number of institutions are also revamping their placement cells by involving trainers and counsellors who can offer career counselling to empower youth and make them aware of the job market they would be stepping into.
Capgemini has identified select engineering campuses with the aim of driving deeper engagement and raise our position as an employer of choice. We are working with 35 such key campuses from across India through technical workshops, executive faculty training & development and internship programs to orient and create better alignment with the emerging skills needs in digital and making students relevant for hire.
Q. How to bridge the gap between industry and academia in India?
Academia and Industry are two different worlds which operate on different pedestals. However, the rapid pace of change in the outside environment is compelling these two different worlds to come together to address and solve some of the real-world challenges.
While a large number of steps are being taken to nurture industry-ready talent, there is still a lot of intervention required revisit the curriculums and make it more industry relevant.
Some of the ways in which industry and academia can come together to bridge this gap is as follows:
- Emphasis on skill-based education
- Workplace exposure through internships, live projects, and corporate interactions
- Up-skilling the faculty
Q. Senior management personnel are finding it difficult to get jobs back in the IT industry, your comments.
With ever-changing market dynamics, new skills and technologies are coming into play at a much faster pace than ever before. The technological advances have rendered an incredibly competitive environment to talent acquisition. To adapt to these fast-changing scenario, it is crucial for the higher & middle management to enhance their knowledge and constantly upskill themselves and cater to the industry demands.
We at Capgemini have embarked on a transformational journey in talent acquisition to stay ahead of the curve. For example, to upskill our employees in the automation space we have launched first
of its kind Automation Drive Academy where we all our employees will be trained with the new technologies. We have introduced a certification programme in Automation Engineering as well where 1500 employees from across the Group have already joined the programme. We are investing heavily on re-skilling around digital and emerging technologies in India.
Q. Before IT-revolution, HR was in the backend; post IT-revolution it has come into the forefront, your comments.
IT is a people-intensive industry. In the information technology industry, HR can be an important factor in keeping the company competitive. From hiring competitive talent, to creating strong and effective policies to make organisations great workplaces, to developing strong learning interventions and talent development programmes to effective talent management, HR is the backbone of the IT industry.
Q. IBM hired 16% of the people with non-technical background in 2016. Are other technical companies also going in this direction?
The IT industry offers a host of roles outside technology. According to Glassdoor, the top 10 non-tech roles in tech companies account for only 18 per cent of all non-tech jobs in IT. The most popular non-technical roles were account executive, project manager and sales representative. Besides, there are other roles in sales, marketing and management positions. job skills by completely redefining and transforming operations.
Emerging technologies like AI and Digital transformation is changing the customer environment faster than ever. This means there is a significant requirement on having the right skill-sets to be able to meet customer needs and their business priorities.
We expect demand for professionals to be more skill-based and strategic to business goals. We see disruption as an opportunity to evolve in terms of business models, talent development, improved performance standards and excellence in the services we deliver to our customers.
Q. Recently there is a lot of talk about the use of automation in IT industry and heavy job loss; do you think it will have a great impact on the jobs?
Automation is transforming the way the IT industry delivers services. Across industries, automation is only one of many levers to generate efficiencies. It is already driving productivity, agility, adaptability and optimisation for enterprises across the globe.
Automation is creating a new category of digital labour. More than killing traditional jobs, automation is empowering professionals by transforming Knowledge Management and the learning curve (e.g., freshers become more productive).
At Capgemini, we term automation as Competitiveness, as it is more about evolution which is the need of the hour in current environmental dynamics.
We believe that the Competitiveness initiatives are going to help enhance capabilities, supplement skill-sets of employees particularly in areas where there are repetitive tasks in the short-and medium-term.
Q. What are the emerging skills in the IT industry today?
In the era of digital transformation, IT professionals must adjust to a rapidly shifting technology and business landscape. IT leaders, recruiters and industry researchers say that some specific skills will be in higher demand than others, and IT roles and positions will have to adjust to an emerging technology and business landscape.
- Developers will still be kings: Despite the rise of drag-and-drop low-code tools, development skills will continue to be among the hottest skills in the coming decade.
- An ever increasing need for cyber security skills: Cyber security professionals are already among the most in-demand IT specialists, and that demand is expected to grow significantly as the volume and complexity of systems increases
- Demand for niche skills: Niche skills in digital in areas like Big Data, Cyber security, Artificial Intelligence, IOT, among other will continue to see high demand
- Hybrid roles will take centre stage:
With so many companies embarking on digital transformations, business-IT hybrid roles will emerge to help organisations fulfil their evolving digital visions.
Q. Is the attrition rate still high in the IT sector?
Attrition rate in the IT sector has been showing a consistent pattern for the last few of years. There is a demand Innovation in technology is actually driving employment and enabling new ways to create opportunities and evolved
Emerging technologies like AI & Digital transformation is changing the customer environment faster than ever. This means there is a significant requirement on having the right skill-sets to be able to meet customer needs and their business priorities.