PRESENT SCENARIO IN INDIAN IT SECTOR
Most large IT service companies have been investing in automation of processes in their conventional businesses like business process outsourcing (BPO) and application and infrastructure management, which means fewer engineers, will be required at the lower end of the pyramid.
At the turn of the century, a boom in the IT sector led by companies such as TCS, Infosys and Wipro translated into the creation of thousands of white collar jobs in the country, and a relatively easy opportunity to work onsite in the matured markets of US and Europe.
Since these companies were involved in mundane jobs such as infrastructure management, server maintenance and client support, they hired in huge numbers from engineering colleges across the country. Not anymore, perhaps.
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REPORTS ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE POISED TO DISRUPT IT INDUSTRY
Peter Bendor of consulting firm Everest Group estimates that 80% of offshore IT jobs and 30%-40% of finance and accounting jobs in India will be removed by robotic process automation, which is the application of technology to process a transaction and carry out other tasks.
Across almost every industry, it is observed that eliminating ratios is between 30% and 80% of the full time equivalent working in the Indian services industry due to the impact.
According to a recent World Bank report, automation threatens seven out of 10 jobs in India.
IT biggies are open about the fact that recruitment of the hundreds of graduates from Indian engineering colleges has reduced as they automate.
NOT TECHNOLOGY OF THE FUTURE ANYMORE
On hiring aspect, industries are likely to shift into re-skilling. The entire industry is hiring fewer fresher’s. Given the macro environment, people are hiring more onsite. Jobs at the bottom of the pyramid are getting automated.
Automation has been changing every sector squeezing people, and it’s now the turn of IT. If you consider the various jobs that any industry has, it is likely that repetitive tasks that can be performed better by systems with artificial intelligence are the jobs that will go away.
Infosys, India’s second-largest software services exporter by revenue, hired 5,719 people in the first nine months of this fiscal, down from 17,196 in the same period a year earlier.
They are continuing their continuous focus on introducing automation across their projects in the backdrop of pricing pressure in traditional services and they expect this to reflect in our future hiring.
Automation will help companies enhance operating margins. In the third quarter, Infosys ‘released’ about 2,650 full-time employees’ worth of effort in application maintenance, package system maintenance, BPO, and infrastructure management, taking the total number to 9,000 in a year. Wipro’s target is about 4,500 by April. The employees, who are released, are trained to work on more advanced projects.
Now every position that is flagged off for hiring, they first look internally. They try to re-skill and help people move into newer areas rather than hiring externally.
NECESSARILY NOT ALWAYS WITH NEGATIVE IMPLICATIONS
It’s not an entirely gloomy picture, but it will force the employee to adapt. Automation will not eliminate jobs. It will bring people to focus their attention on different kinds of jobs, those that are high on thinking, creativity and require human interaction. So while some jobs get eliminated, many more will be created. Infosys recently trained about 490 people in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Re-skilling is a challenge. People who cannot re-skill will be under personal pressure and it will be a matter of survival for them.