The Centre is working with industry body Nasscom as well as other academic institutions on specific programmes to address the skill shortage in the technology sector within the next 12-14 months, union minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar told ET.
These measures will include initiatives like digital university, dual certification and degrees which are all aimed at upskilling and reskilling the available talent pool, he added.
“We are working with urgency to address the talent demand as it is an unprecedented opportunity for the startup and technology sector,” the minister said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. In recent weeks, Indian technology companies have raised concerns around rising attrition and increasing talent costs as the post-pandemic demand for digital transformation has led to higher demand for technology resources.
Industry-wide voluntary attrition levels have reached record high levels (over 20%) in the first quarter of financial year 2023 with the likes of Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services reporting attrition of 28.4% and 19.7%, respectively. “There is more demand for talent than there is supply. But the government is working with the industry, Nasscom and academic institutions to correct the skill shortage issue and demand access issues in the next 12 to 14 months,” Chandrasekhar said.
Commenting on the concerns around moonlighting in the technology Industry — where employees work for more than one employer simultaneously — Chandrasekhar said the issue boils down to the kind of contractual obligation employees have with their employers.
“If the contract is explicit such that the employee will work only with the employer and nobody else then the matter is fairly simple to decipher,” he said.
Pointing out that irrespective of whether the employees moonlight with a different company or set up their own startup, the mismatch in supply and demand of talent will persist despite the challenging macro-economic environment across some global markets.
AI and Data Opportunity
Earlier, addressing a fireside chat with Cred founder Kunal Shah at the Global Fintech fest in Mumbai, Chandrasekhar stated that the startup and innovation ecosystem in India should focus on opportunities beyond consumer technology solutions in order to focus on India’s $10 trillion economy goals.
“Apart from the consumer tech trends that we have seen, the next few years are going to be more about artificial intelligence, the vibrant data economy and a whole new basket of opportunities in deep tech,” he said.
Chandrasekhar stated that various policy frameworks to govern user data, both public and personal data will work towards ensuring that AI systems utilise the user data responsibly.
“For decades, India has seen IT and ITeS opportunities describe our digital economy. We have in the last few years moved from that to significant innovations in the B2C and consumer tech space. In the coming years, we will also be expanding a basket of innovations around deep tech and the data economy,” he added.
While he did not share specific timelines for the digital data protection act, which will replace the personal data protection act or the data anonymisation guidelines, Chandrasekhar stated that the government will roll out these policy frameworks only after following the due process of public consultation. He added that parts of Indian policies are going to be tailored for Indian innovators, startups and companies while some parts are going to be open to global companies that want to create opportunities in India.