It is widely acknowledged that India has achieved considerable success in the fields of IT and ITeS over the past two decades. Indian companies have proved that they are competitive in these global industries. However, there are now fears that this growth is not sustainable due to serious challenges on the human resources front.
In the IT and ITeS industries, employees at all levels work in an environment in which technical knowledge alone is not enough to create value for the customer or to achieve career progression. Our education system has not prepared our graduates for this work environment. Schools and colleges focus almost exclusively on technical knowledge, and ignore critical areas like industry exposure and soft skills development. This problem has been exacerbated by the need for companies to recruit more candidates from Tier 2 cities, as well as to seek talent at lesser known colleges. The ‘Freshers’ face career limitations due to their limited English language capabilities, weak communication skills, and poor interpersonal skills.
At the same time attrition levels are high as more and more companies chase the scarce talent available. To combat attrition, small and mid sized companies are promoting people in record time. Employees are often expected to take on new roles and responsibilities well before they have developed the skills, knowledge and maturity necessary for these roles. Inexperienced managers may actually contribute to an increase in attrition rates, thus creating a vicious cycle. Even large companies operating in the Indian environment have begun to face these challenges and are looking for ways to bring their employees rapidly up to speed.
In all emerging and high growth industries, companies are faced with the need to not only find people with the requisite technical skills, but are having to invest heavily in training them in the soft skills that are essential for working with colleagues, customers, suppliers, and with their counterparts across countries and cultures.