CXO / IT Leadership

Demand for Digitally Skilled Workers Grows - Part 2

What Organizations Are Doing to Meet Their Digital Skill Requirements
Demand for Digitally Skilled Workers Grows - Part 2
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Current economic headwinds compel organizations to scale back their workforce or freeze hiring. Yet, studies show the rapid pace of digital transformation has led to a demand for workers with advanced digital skills. Here's how organizations are responding.

See Also: Endpoint Security Essentials for the C-Suite: An Executive's Digital Dilemma

An international study commissioned by AWS and conducted by Gallup suggests that the rapid pace of digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region and subsequent technological changes are contributing to a widening digital skills gap. The study, titled "Asia Pacific Digital Skills Study: The Economic Benefits of a Tech-Savvy Workforce," says the gap must be addressed to unlock the region's full economic potential, especially in the face of challenging economic times.

The AWS study says 97% of Indian organizations believe digital skills will be very important or extremely important for their business over the next five years. However, 88% of employers find it challenging to hire the digital workers they need and 40% attributed this to a shortage of qualified applicants.

In Part 1 of this story, industry practitioners cited various reasons why hiring for advanced digital skills has become a top priority for their organizations. They also told Information Security Media Group about their hiring challenges and reskilling and recruiting strategies.

Gig Workers

NASSCOM says organizations are increasingly hiring gig workers to address the skills shortage. A NASSCOM survey of over 70 organizations shows nearly two-thirds (65%) of the surveyed organizations employed gig workers in 2022, compared to 57% in 2020.

In its November 2022 report titled "Future of Workforce: Decoding Gig Workforce 2.0," NASSCOM says companies are increasingly hiring sub-contractors and gig workers - especially for niche digital technologies - and offering internal gig platforms for better utilization of existing employees.

Sangeeta Gupta, senior VP and chief strategy officer, NASSCOM told ISMG that the talent shortage is causing organizations to consider "different [hiring] combinations" such as freelancers, independent consultants, project-based workers, temporary or part-time hires. This shortage is also changing how organizations think about their policies and practices "to leverage this good talent that you may not find otherwise."

Hiring and Skilling Strategies

Anil Salvi, MD and group head, human resources, JM Financial Products Limited, believes in "catching them young." He is creating a tech talent pool for his organization and his team is also devising strategies for retaining talent. The key to that, he says, is "building a culture of innovation."

"New-age tech talent expects a conducive environment of learning, innovation and experimentation, which also offers ownership and freedom," Salvi says.

His organization is providing its employees a platform to upskill through digital certifications and mentorship.

"We make that additional effort to ensure stronger engagement and involvement among the junior team members. We position our company as a digital/tech-first organization and that positioning has helped us attract new talent," Salvi says.

Hexaware Technologies, a global technology and business process services company of 30,000 employees, has a three-fold strategy targeting students and its existing consultants. Its Mavericks program is designed to orient engineering students in their third year of college, with the aim of making them IT-ready by the time they graduate.

Hexaware also has a future-ready model for upskilling that involves clustering of skills. It has devised a structure with “target state roles” or TSR as its foundation. This creates "unique clusters by combining certain skills that are required for a specific role that's relevant for digital programs," says Satyendu Mohanty, executive vice president and global head, digital assurance and competency, Hexaware Technologies.

Each TSR has one or two foundational skills along with other new-age and relatively complex skills that are logically related to the foundational skills.

Hexaware also offers a talent rotation program called Evolve, aimed at empowering its existing consultants to acquire and enhance their skills related to digital technologies. Once they master a skill, they are transferred from their current projects to other programs. This approach enables them to utilize their newly acquired digital competencies to the fullest.

All three strategies fulfill the future talent requirements of the organization.

"The ultimate goal of our talent management framework is to continue to proactively upskill our internally available talent pool, hire talent with foundational skills that are willing to grow laterally across new technologies, and provide sufficient opportunities for our Mavericks program to work on digital technologies in order to ensure that we continue to delight our clients with high quality of delivery," Mohanty says.

BUSINESSNEXT, which offers solutions to global banks and financial services companies, has prioritized the skilling of its workforce and charts out the trajectory of career growth for all their employees through certain initiatives.

Academy Next is an immersive learning platform to train its employees on its products and new technologies.

"We created Individual Development Programs or IDPs and career paths for each individual within the organization taking into account not only their current role, but also their [career] aspirations - keeping in mind the background and technical skills that are required for the organization," says Lipika Mohanty, director, people and development, BUSINESSNEXT.

As part of the IDP, BUSINESSNEXT has made Udemy courses mandatory for its workforce.

In aligning career aspirations with its business goals, BUSINESSNEXT establishes a career path or road map for each employee.

BUSINESSNEXT is also partnering with universities to educate students of its products and certain technologies and skills that are core to its business.

About the Author

Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira

Sr. Director - Editorial, ISMG

Pereira has nearly three decades of journalism experience. He is the former editor of CHIP, InformationWeek and CISO MAG. He has also written for The Times of India and The Indian Express.

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