In a bid to bridge the gap between the talent pool and the skills required for the available jobs, information technology companies have launched relevant educational courses for the new digital era.

Genpact, Tech Mahindra and Tata Consultancy Services are among companies that have launched programmes aimed at those who are looking to acquire skills for the new jobs available.

Tech Mahindra, for example, has partnered with Jawaharlal Nehru Engineering College under the Mahatma Gandhi Mission University, to roll out a two-year post-graduate programme with the aim of bridging the skill-gap in new-age technologies, including digitalisation, mobility, AI and machine learning.

Tata Consultancy Services is scaling up its Digitate Academy to meet the growing demand for ignio-certified professionals. Ignio is the core of TCS’ digital platform. In the last 12 months, the academy has doubled the number of professionals trained.

In June, Genpact made its internal online learning platform, Genome, free. “Skills that were once seen as nice to have are now critical to succeeding in the digital economy. By opening Genome to the public, we are helping to accelerate the professional learning process for everyone,” Tiger Tyagarajan, President and CEO, Genpact told BusinessLine in a recent interview.

These efforts are crucial, if the sector has to achieve the next round of sustainable growth and in many ways also points to a change in approach, forced by the pandemic.

Changes in Global Delivery Model

When IT companies started pioneering the Global Delivery Model, it was based on hiring people from engineering colleges, training them using company resources and then deploying them on projects. Projects were straightforward and the college curriculum was enough for the freshers to commence work with minimal training.

Now, things have changed, as new projects are designed around digital projects like AI and robotics. Most engineering colleges are yet to adapt their curriculum to the new requirements. As a result, IT companies have had to invest a lot in re-skilling new recruits. But they have been hesitant to open up their curriculum to the larger student community, largely due to competition

“The cost of training and hiring an individual after college is an expensive and time consuming affair. Post Covid-19, companies are preparing for a Just In Time (JIT) model wherein they can shorten the hiring time and reduce training costs once a person is on-board,” said T. V., Mohandas Pai, former Infosys CFO.

“In the current situation, employers are facing a bigger talent crunch, with minimal and restricted hiring options,” according to Sumit Kumar, Vice-President – NETAP, TeamLease. There is a growing crunch for data scientists, cloud architects and AI engineers, amongst others.

According to Ravi Kaklasaria, CEO & Founder, SpringPeople, it is cost-effective and easy for organisations to groom graduates in the skills they need rather than hiring seasoned professionals, who are expensive and take time to unlearn.

Industry watchers also opine that with drastically reduced hiring (pre-Covid) and subsequent job losses due to the impact of the pandemic, the need for re-skilling assumes renewed significance. Unlike in the past, the need for the right skills on the job is becoming more important than just a functional degree, said Vijay Sivaram, CEO, Quess IT staffing.

In FY20, the IT sector added 2 lakh jobs and employees have started to embrace re-skilling efforts.

Pai is also of the view that by opening up their curriculum, companies are preparing for an eventual uptick in business, when the Covid-19 situation normalises. Most of the large IT companies said the second half of fiscal 2020-21 will see a pick-up in growth in business