“IoT will increase demand for jobs by 15-20%”

In the recent past, there have instances of worker unrest in manufacturing industries leading to loss of life and property. Demand for better wages has been at the core of these unrests. At the same time, experts say that India has been unable to create enough jobs in spite of being one of fastest economies in the world.
In the recent past, there have instances of worker unrest in manufacturing industries leading to loss of life and property. Demand for better wages has been at the core of these unrests. At the same time, experts say that India has been unable to create enough jobs in spite of being one of fastest economies in the world. According to Sudeep Sen, Head of Industrial and Manufacturing Vertical, TeamLease Services, the problem is not about jobs, but about wages. He believes formalisation of jobs (ie movement from informal to formal jobs) can help to solve the problem of wages. With automation being adopted, the need for new roles and opportunities in the form of quality control, agile automation, smart tools instrumentation, etc will increase. In this conversation with Rakesh Rao, Sudeep Sen explains the impact of new technologies on manufacturing sector and importance of skill development.
 
In the recent past, we have seen a lot of unrest among workers in industries. What are the causes of this unrest? Are companies acknowledging these causes and taking remedial steps?
Career planning, communication and wages are key concerns and yes, there has been unrest, however things like formalisation of jobs, investment in effective training, forming teams for employee communications and engagements are the steps that can be taken to resolve this and it will help to reduce such unrests in the future.
 
Some experts claim that India, in spite of being one of fastest economies in the world, has failed to create enough jobs. What is the ground reality? 
The problem is not about jobs, it is about wages. Formalisation in terms of jobs (ie movement from informal to formal jobs) is the right approach and India is moving towards the same. The macroeconomic conditions and the Government initiatives are helping this and lot many private enterprises need to look at the creation of formal jobs as it will help to solve the problem of wages. Next is the advancement required in the skill sets, as skill deficiency is costing job seekers to get the right kind of job, one that is aspirational. The subject of skill enhancement is to be worked out at a younger age and hence it means that private enterprises, government bodies and educationalists need to come forward and make a course revamp, we need to diminish or shorten the gap in terms of courseware.  
 
What are the trends being witnessed in the job market in manufacturing sector? 
Newer technologies like AI, machine learning and Blockchain will together boost the transformation of the manufacturing Industry. With a series of new projects in the engineering domain, there is a demand for technical personnel for executing projects either onsite or offsite, namely civil site engineer, mechanical site engineer, electrical site engineer, instrumentation site engineer having skills of progress monitoring and quality check, apart from skills in MS office, AutoCAD and in-depth domain expertise. Engineering companies are looking for smart tool skilled staff with the education qualifications like a degree in civil, mechanical,  electrical or chemical engineering that have detailed experience of working on Pipe-net analysis, Static, Rotary and Package equipment, Stress Analysis, STADD Analysis, ETAP Analysis. 
 
Needless to say, this automation and its adoption is on the rise and hence, will be part of the automated industry. It is important that Engineering graduates in the field of mechanical, civil, electrical domain get exposure of working on smart tools. This is the ultimate gift of machine learning and possession of these skills give the required technical flair in one’s resume. 
 
There is a huge requirement of  modellers, draftsman & administrators wherein they need to have a minimum of 1 to 3 years of experience and have knowledge in digitization projects using various tools such as SmarPlant tools (S3D, SPI, SPPID, SPEL), Bentley tools (P&ID, Instrumentation, Electrical & 3D), AVEVA tools (P&ID, Electrical, Instrumentation, 3D) or Siemens COMOS.
Overall, there is an increased demand of 10 to 12 per cent in the engineering sector. With digitization at its peak, this is just the beginning for a smarter engineered India, wherein we will make, assemble and commission more in India. 
There is 12 to 15 per cent increase in the demand for skilled staff in the engineering and industrial sector. However, it is important to know the skill set required to enhance careers and the technological demand of today. 
 
Proponents of technology say that increase in automation is not leading to decrease in job creation, but is causing changes in job roles/profiles. How true is this? 
Newer jobs are getting created and the same will be the trend but learning and adoption of new skills sets will be very much required. Re-skilling and knowledge of smart tools is the new buzz term for the auto and engineering sector. Some of the technological advancements creating incremental are: 3D printing technologies: On a day to day basis, 3DPT (as is known) is increasingly being adopted in commercial engineering setups, the demand for the same has increased by 15 per cent in 2018, the need of the hour is for the engineers that are skilled in using additive manufacturing technologies, or that are adept at integrating it into production processes. This technology was initially used for prototyping work. However, the 3DPT has now penetrated into production applications, making components for usage in the aerospace, defence, medical, automotive and power generation industries. 
 
IoT: With the concept of smart factories, the technology enables us today to inter-network devices and equipment, thereby increasing productivity, efficiency and agile automation. It means that the equipment on its own is programmed to pick up the errors, malfunctions and do a smart alert. There is a need for qualified and skilled professionals to then act on the practical steps ahead and, thus, IoT as a stand-alone will contribute to an increase in demand of jobs by 15 to 20 per cent. In figures, this means additional 1 lakh jobs in the next 1.5 to 2 years. 
 
Automation: With robots being installed and implemented and also plants being automated, the focus is on productivity and this is leading to skill upgradation. This will benefit the employers as well as the staffs. The impact has created new jobs and will continue creating new jobs, provided there is a will to enhance skills. For example, with automation being adopted, there are new roles and opportunities in the form of quality control, agile automation, smartools instrumentation etc. 
 
If the job profiles/roles are changing, then are new/existing human resources fit to take up the new role? 
Re-skilling is the need of the hour and one needs to do a dip stick study about the same and take it up patiently to learn. While this is applicable for the job seekers across different levels of experience, it also applies to the HR personnel who are looking out to hire these employees. 
 
HR professionals need to upgrade their knowledge and skills in terms of digitization and effect of it. In fact data recording of the entire life cycle has become a mandatory and compulsory episode for the HR fraternity. It has become like a life line as well done, can fetch the same HR professionals accolades and good appraisals as the data is linked with the multiple departments in terms of productivity and cost measurement. The two key terms are ‘Productivity’ and ‘Cost measurement’ and the need of data analytics pertaining to employee life cycle is much needed for to address them. 
 
Much to the need of today, as more and more companies are becoming reliant on technology, every step of the employee life-cycle will be recorded. The extent of data available with the HR team will go beyond the date of joining and remuneration increase. Adoption, implementation and usage of tools to map the hygiene factors like leave, attendance, etc is on and also organisations are adopting to same tool giving them the complete analytics in terms of the productivity - like sales for the day, week, month etc, target Vs achievements, stock update, calculation of variable pay, average time spent with the customer etc. Most interestingly, there is a derivative from this data as well. For instance, if data shows that an employee is taking long time in the negotiation stage or agreement closure stages, the need for training assessment is available and training sessions can be built around the same. There is no assumption at all, it is all data driven. Similarly, data analytics will also enable HR to correlate reasons for attrition in terms of resources and even clients. Needless to say, data analytics will help in sharpen people insights and predictive analytics for proactive, cost saving and better-quality decisions from HRBP’s desks. 
 
Training/re-skilling the existing workforce is essential for the survival of organisation's future. Are Indian companies investing enough money & time on this front? 
Organisations are definitely doing it and we will see more such drives to re-skill the need of change and productivity, but there will be an entry barrier for it and organisations would do cherry picking for the same. Hence, it is needed for the employees to be more flexible, ready to study and invest time. Those days are gone wherein you have a job and you can be relaxed of doing the same job. The expectations of the job are changing and will continue to change and hence, one has to be very open and ready to invest time to be in continuous demand for performing and able to be a productive employee. 
 
How effective has been the government's Skill India mission in generating skill employees or entrepreneurs? What needs to be done to make it more effective?
The government has taken remarkable steps in their efforts for skilling. However, there has to be an engagement between the formal employers and the Government. These initiatives will help secure more formal employment for the folks who get the required skill enhancement or go through the skilling hours. The final measurement is the number of folks on the job, and also how the wages improve; we need to look for that aspect. 
 
Informal sector employees more people than formal sector. Is government/industry taking steps to skill/train these employees? 
There has to be a shift from informal sector to formal sector, it has happened and macroeconomic conditions and regulatory bodies are constantly working towards the same. However, again, the formal private employees and the Government need to work in tandem to help the job and wages problem. Wages area is a bigger concern and it means wages as stipulated by the legitimate regulatory body and also the statutory benefits that come along with it. 
 
How can companies use technological advancements like AI, VR, etc for training and skilling purposes? 
Training sessions and tutorials (with periodic refresher) shall help in terms of increasing  the learnability of new tolls and automation. It will help avoid unrest and also make them productive. IT intervention in the manufacturing and engineering industry has already started and would continue and hence, technological sync up will happen accordingly. 
 
How relevant is skill training/development in small & medium enterprises?
Learning and training enhance the productivity, and hence is important irrespective of the size of the industry and is applicable for all and it will help in the RoI accordingly.
 
 
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