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January 29, 2016

Technology. Talent. Training. And a Transformation in the Making.

Posted by Krishnamurthy Shankar (View Profile | View All Posts) at 5:54 AM

Davos 2016 - Press Conference: Educating the Masters of the Fourth Industrial Revolution [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anL2TdEl488]

We are on the cusp of a technological tipping point that has the potential to transform the world. Already we see great innovations in robotics, AI and smart systems disrupting multiple industries.

These same technological forces are also having a transformative impact on talent. But, unless people are equipped with the education and skills to navigate these forces and the new dynamics of employment it is creating, we will be unable to realize the potential of this big opportunity. In fact, we recently undertook a global study - Amplifying Human Potential - to understand the challenges, concerns and opportunities facing young people as they pursue their education, training and career aspirations in these digitally dominated, fast-evolving times.

The primary takeaway from the study is that our younger generations are both pragmatic about the increasing competition and complexity in the labor market as well as optimistic about the future. Young people in emerging markets tend to be significantly more confident about having the skills required for a successful career than their peers in developed markets. And not surprisingly, we also found that strong technological capabilities inspired greater confidence about the future as well as fuelled interest in building those capabilities further.

But there are a couple of gaps within this broadly upbeat narrative that definitely need our collective attention. Many young people believe that education has failed to prepare them for their working life. To compound the issue, their expectations of training and skills acquisition are not being met even after they join the workforce. The problem seems even more acute in the case of honing creative skills and the ability to reimagine things and articulate a clear vision which will be in great demand in the age of automation.

This sets up a two-fold challenge. The first is to modernize the education system so that it accurately reflects the realities of the new workplace and equips our people with the knowledge and skills required to succeed there. We need to invest in the learning structures and systems that enable this generation to acquire both technological and liquid skills. Unless we begin now, we run a real risk of creating a divide of employability skills 'haves' and 'have-nots'. The second mandate is for enterprises. Businesses must also create structured opportunities for the continuous development of their employees. After all, our youngsters expect to learn throughout their careers, in fact lifelong. Hence nurturing their uniquely human abilities - like able problem finding and creative solution creation - must be an integral part of a company's training commitments.

At Infosys, we are fully signed on to place this right up top on our agenda.

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