Technology is changing the landscape of industries around the world. Many jobs that existed in the past are slowly phasing out and data says that over the next five years, 9% of India’s 600 million workforce will hold jobs that do not exist yet. In such a time, the only thing that can save us is re-skilling and learnability.
Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji, the son of business tycoon and philanthropist Azim Premji conversed with Rahul Kanwal at the India Today Conclave Mumbai 2019 on how re-skilling and learnability are the top skills for tomorrow’s workforce.
“Jobs are dynamically changing,” says Rishad Premji. He says that unless we are looking into specific jobs such as doctors and lawyers, it is very difficult to explain what to expect in the future of jobs.
“But to get into more broad-based jobs, you’ve got to have a mindset of being reskillable and re-trainable and be open to continuous learning,” he adds.
Is India ready to leverage its demographic dividend?
India is set to be the world’s youngest country by 2020 but are we ready with the need for employment opportunities for the youth? Rahul Kanwal mentions how recent data notes that 10% GDP growth allows for 1% new employment.
Premji says that reskilling is what should be the focus area now. And that is what allowed for the IT industry to boom.
“The big mindset shift that has happened in people is that they are recognising that if they don’t reskill themselves, they will get left behind,” he says.
The second thing that Premji said we need to look at is understanding how to work with universities to enhance the capacity of teachers by leveraging human plus online intervention so that they can create students who will be better able to harness the power of technology.
“The third thing in which the government is also playing a very important role in is how to open up this platform to citizens,” he says.
How do you bring up children for future jobs that don’t exist?
Over the next 5 years, 9% of India’s 600 million workforce will hold jobs that do not exist yet, Rahul Kanwal cited a Nasscom report. So how is Premji thinking about bringing up a young child in a world like this?
“I think the biggest skill is learnability and continuous learning, that is the most important non-technical skill you can develop,” says Premji.
He says that people often fixated on one skill and he would rather teach his child on how to be always open to new skills.
“If I look for two things in people, it is learnability and teamwork,” says the Wipro chairman.
“Those who don’t have learnability get fixated on ideas and then get left behind,” he adds.
Do you think the graduates coming out of Indian colleges now are placed well enough to use the workforce of the future?
“Companies spend a lot of time training graduates,” Premji explains.
He says that if companies spent time with universities in upskilling measures, the situation could be improved.