Post pandemic market, upskilling, reskilling, hiring trends, job market, IT jobs

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Digitization and post-pandemic markets are revealing the need for upskilling and reskilling, bringing about a major transformation in hiring trends.

As lockdowns open up economies, India is witnessing a hiring surge resulting from industries that are trying to get back to pre-COVID levels. Or they are trying to lap up new opportunities created in a post-COVID economy.

The biggest change we witness in post-COVID times is rapid digitization, even faster than before, a phenomenon that is creating online opportunities even as offline ones are receding. Remote working, increased automation, and contactless communication are forcing employers and employees to check themselves nervously.


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According to the McKinsey Global Survey 2020, 87% of the executives said that they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce. This rapid digitization is giving rise to a demand for upskilling among existing employees as well as freshers.

To discuss the trends in the Indian job market in a post-COVID reality, The Tech Panda spoke to experts Sumesh Nair, Co-founder of Board Infinity and Ramesh Alluri Reddy, Director — Managed Services and Professional Services, The Adecco Group, India.

Switzerland based, The Adecco Group is a global workforce solutions and temporary hiring firm and a Fortune Global 500 company. Board Infinity is a career exploration platform that creates job-ready talent for employers with the help of industry professionals.

Sumesh Nair

During the pandemic, we have also seen a strong demand for new skills learning. This change has brought a major transformation in hiring trends

“We have observed rapid digitization since the last two-three months with a change in consumer behavior. Post-COVID times have seen a major shift from offline to online, whether it is exercising, shopping, or studying,” Nair says.

“During the pandemic, we have also seen a strong demand for new skills learning. This change has brought a major transformation in hiring trends. The need for web developers, programmers, digital marketers, tech automation, cyber security, etc., has led to lot of roles in the industry opening up for the same,” he adds.

Remote working has forced many employees to check their skill levels, because employers are now demanding more skills. As a result, this has introduced a high level of competition into the IT job market, says Ramesh.

Ramesh Alluri Reddy

With remote working capability, people who are extremely well-skilled are standing head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd

“With remote working capability, people who are extremely well-skilled are standing head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd. People are trying to get better than each other on various skills, so they are doing certifications, trying to read things up, trying to add to their experience, because the best one survives, the best one gets the opportunity,” he says.

From an HR standpoint, in terms of trainings and certifications, people’s interest levels to get multi-skilled is becoming more of a requirement than an interest.

“Everybody is trying to make themselves more skilled and more sellable,” he adds.

How the Need for Upskilling is Coming About

The need for upskilling has been around even before COVID-19 struck. Educational institutions maybe handing out degrees to graduates, but are students actually prepared for the realities of a job? There is always a gap between what a student learns in college and what is demanded within the practicality of a job.

To catch up on skills for future, people at entry level, mid-level and executive level are trying to upskill or re-skill themselves

The reason for such discrepancies emanates from the fact that job markets have no choice but to change with the times. Educational organizations, on the other hand, feel no such compulsion. They continue to teach the same syllabi that has been taught for, sometimes, decades. Thus, when students come in contact with the job market, they find themselves inadequate, creating a crucial need for upskilling.

“It is a known fact that education in colleges is not enough to survive and sustain in the current job environment. In order to catch up on skills for the future, people at entry level, mid-level, and executive level are trying to upskill or re-skill themselves,” says Nair.

As a consequence, he also reveals that vertical and horizontal players are emerging in this ecosystem.

Future upskilling

Both Nair and Ramesh predict that upskilling is not only here to stay, but will become more and more competitive in the future

“The overall industry is poised to benefit from skilling ecosystems either run by government or private players. It has become a norm for learning and development teams to partner with edtech players to reskill their employees,” says Nair.

He also emphasizes that upskilling is a trend that not only is here to stay but is also beneficial for the job market overall. The trend will impact the overall productive labor force in the country and people will migrate to the best employers who pay as well as invest in training.

“Employer led solutions in skilling means better retention of employees, further reduction in hiring and training costs of new joinees. Skilling interventions done by themselves on their own will enable faster migration of employees from low pay to high pay. Eventually companies that can’t pay well or train well end up losing employees as a result,” he predicts.

(Upskilling) is not even going to stay at what it is. People will have to keep reinventing themselves and the cycle times for that will become shorter as we go ahead

Ramesh predicts that upskilling will bring in more competition.

“From the way the industry is going, the way the economy is growing, I would think that India will become more research centered and the need for high skilled people will become even more. It’s not even going to stay at what it is. People will have to keep reinventing themselves and the cycle times for that will become shorter as we go ahead,” he says.

Hot Skills in the Job Market

Digital transformation has been bringing in changes in the job market long before COVID started. Ramesh says one such change is a demand for multi-skills.

“We see a huge shift in terms of customers wanting multi-skilled people. This includes a demand for profiles that include Java full stack or Java with Kubernetes containers experience. They don’t want the plain AWS Azure profiles, but they want a combination of talents,” he explains.

Earlier project management used to revolve around people management. But now the focus is pretty sharp. So people are seeking DevOps, Agile, and Scrum masters, but with specific technology experience

Also, certifications in many cases are becoming mandatory. Technical project management is another ask.

“Earlier project management used to revolve around people management. But now the focus is pretty sharp. So people are seeking DevOps, Agile, and Scrum masters, but with specific technology experience,” he adds.

In a survey by Board Infinity, markets such as transport, logistics, banking, and the domestic travel industry, are showing positive hiring trends. The platform has also pointed out that the highest paid jobs in 2020 include full-stack developer, data scientist, digital marketer, legal professional, and business analyst, another indicator that digital jobs are on the rise.

People who are at the middle stage of their career are trying to re-skill and upgrade themselves and freshers who are open to starting a job are trying to learn multiple things to get the best opportunities for themselves

Nair reveals that an increase in technical skill sets such as system oriented roles and product oriented roles have seen an upward trend in the hiring graph.


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“If you look at the non-tech hiring, customer service operations, and inside sales are seeing a boom over the last couple of quarters. People who are at the middle stage of their career are trying to re-skill and upgrade themselves and freshers who are open to starting a job are trying to learn multiple things to get the best opportunities for themselves,” he says.

Digitization is pushing all industries, especially IT, towards creating a more sophisticated and tech savvy workforce. Consequently, the demand for upskilling is rising rapidly and is here to stay too.

Every disaster brings opportunities with it. COVID may have brought much woe in its wake, but it has definitely fast-forwarded digitization in countless sectors, giving rise to the need for upskilling not just employees but entire organizations.

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