Bridging the talent gap in emerging technologies

We live in a world where connectivity is inevitable, and this makes the Internet of Things (IoT) stand out amongst the emerging technologies

Bhavna Dalal
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 12:26:22 PM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

Leaders in the digital age have to think about grooming the right talent for jobs of the future. We live in a world where connectivity is inevitable, and this makes the Internet of Things (IoT) stand out amongst the emerging technologies. IoT connectivity lies at the heart of digital transformation as it forms the foundation for a wide range of technologies including automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics among others. The lack of understanding among decision makers of the potential benefits of IoT, and the limited maturity of the industry hinders its smooth adoption.

The Talent Supply Index found that the demand for talent in IoT shot up 304 percent between 2014 and 2017. Although the continuous uptick in need for expertise in emerging technologies and more specifically IoT, the talent available has not grown at the same pace. The next question that comes to mind is “How should we bridge this gap?"

Additional focus in the following four areas is required for organisations to be future ready:

One of the ways to ready the existing talent pool is through upskilling and reskilling. Technology has the power to automate many functions making adopting new skills vital to the longevity of technical careers. There is now a need to showcase versatility in the skills they possess. The main functional areas to focus this upskilling on include programming, hardware engineering, data analytics, User Interface/ User Experience (UI/UX) Design, information security, mobile development, cloud computing, and networking.

Education is one of the means to train fresh talent for a future in emerging technologies. According to a study by IBM, the working population in India is set to rise from 750 million in 2010 to almost 1 billion by 2030. However, if the syllabus and system for higher education don’t experience a radical shift, the skill gap will only widen causing a surge in unemployment in the nation.

Training and Development
Many corporates today undertake training and development programs that are directed at their existing employees to improve performance, upskill them and retain a competitive edge. Training and development are the best means of attracting and retaining qualified employees with relevant experience. A combination of online courses and on the job training opportunities could bolster the capabilities of the available workforce.

Business-academic collaboration
Corporates need to invest in fundamental research, while simultaneously, academics need to understand businesses better. Today, startups in India primarily focus on creating products and services that are similar to existing ones rather than building new ones. Leading to increased competition within related technologies and increased chances of failure. Many IoT companies such as Bosch, Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys have tied up with some of the leading engineering colleges and universities in the country with the intention of ideating, conceptualising and creating innovative new products.

In India, there is a huge demand and supply of skilled engineers. The problem is that the market is focused on the service sector when the focus should indeed be on innovation and product development. Now is the time for action. Whether it is rebooting our education system, training, upskilling or partnering with universities to build the talent pool, individuals need to be trained for the jobs of the future.

The author is Founder and CEO of Talent Power Partners, a leadership development company in Bangalore, India.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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