Employability Mantras For This Decade and Next


World of technology has never seen a pace like the current times. Almost every day, hundreds of companies compete with each other to get customer attention with small improvements to the technology that is already well advanced. Some other keep doing research covertly to disrupt the system with something completely new. The world that saw a rapid technical advancement only during the last great war, the World War 2 seems to have outpaced this speed over last decade.

There is a lot to cheer about it. Such changes bring a lot of new opportunities globally, both to the consumer with new products and to job seekers. However, such changes are known to bring a lot of disruption to many including millions who have invested time and energy to move with the old order and those who suddenly find themselves redundant with a single innovation that wipes away their value in job market.

This pace has been only increasing now. The biggest impact is to the IT industry itself that works overtime to reinvent itself and ends up in huge redundancy with every such innovation cycle. The IT service industry in India seemed the best place for the young generation with great salaries, overseas opportunities and a growth that was envied by every other in the job market. Manufacturing sector in India used to complain that even the non computer engineers are flying off to IT industry leaving them hardly any talent. Needless to say, the IT industry still continues to generate more jobs than any other sector, but it is a retrospection time. New technologies have already started taking toll on the jobs that appeared secured just a couple of years back. It is understood that just in Bangalore itself, 15000 to 25000 jobs have been lost over last two quarters of 2014 and 2015. The way the global customers are negotiating and pitching one against the other, IT companies, who were used to high margins are experiencing the real squeeze. While expenses have gone up, most of the new contracts getting renewed are at lower cost. Many contracts are not even getting renewed putting lots of job at stake.

So what are IT companies doing? They are firing all their cylinders to ride on the new technology bandwagon and showcasing to the customers that they are contemporary and the customers need not look beyond. This is the strategy that typically any company will follow. However the collateral damage to this strategy is the employees who are now high salaried by the virtue of their growth within their organizations for years and are suddenly finding themselves without any value to the market. For most, they are not even trainable nor they are worth for the companies that find taking fresh talent at far lower cost and training them for new technologies.

Under such situation, it is certainly not easy to survive within this ever changing IT world, but those who learn the tricks of the trade, not only survive, but also thrive. My next few blogs will be dedicated to elaborate the ways on how a tech worker can remain valuable and continue to grow without any fear from market change or even their own company getting impacted by such change.

 Stay tuned for my next blog.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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