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Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!

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By Manoj Chugh- ICT Expert

Jobs are critical to the success and survival of any society. With technological disruption, an ageing population and globalization, huge concerns are being expressed within the Asia Pacific Region about the future potential of jobs and job creation. Can Digital – the Disruptor, also be the Creator?

One of the most passionate discussions that enliven up any conversation always relates to jobs. Questions on whether we have enough, how do we create more, why is tech wrecking more than creating, are all complex issues. They result in debates that are endless. Given the direct co-relation between employment, savings rate, economic growth and the impact on standards of living, it is not surprising that heated arguments often flare up when this sensitive topic comes up in any confabulation.

Coming home, to Asia Pacific, whilst unemployment rates remain low, and at this time are amongst the lowest in the World at 4.1%, what is worrisome is the decline in employment to population ratios. This is unfortunately deaccelerating at a faster pace than the rest of the World. Within the Asia Pacific Region, unemployment rates vary from Country to Country. India currently is running at a high of over 7%. Clearly, it is important to find the right job for those that have a skill or capability. This is paramount for long term economic and societal health.

Technological disruption too plays an important role and the dis-intermediation caused by it can be disconcerting. I vividly recollect that in 2011 when Cloud technology was just emerging on the horizon, there was widespread fear that it would wash away tens of thousands of jobs within the IT Infrastructure firmament. Long winded debates on the pros and cons of Cloud and it’s impact on employment often resulted in frayed nerves. Eventually we took a decision to take a quantitative and unemotional approach rather than debate endlessly. A study was commissioned. A neutral third party was asked to assess the impact of Cloud on jobs. To everyone’s positive surprise, the findings of the report spoke about how Cloud would in effect create 100,000 additional new jobs over the next few years, rather than cause a loss. Whilst there were many non-believers ( just as there always are when your forecast out into the future), this report did somewhat put an end to the wrangling. It sounded counter- intuitive, but then enough rigour had been put into the study. Years later, we can all sit back and laugh at how conservative the report was indeed! It has turned out that the actual impact was grossly underestimated. The number of jobs that Cloud technologies have created and enabled are manifold higher than what the crystal ball gazing had determined.

Whilst the transition to Cloud has eventually led to more jobs, however, the angst has become much higher today, across many Industries , given the disruption caused by Digital Disruption. It is imperative that we urgently look for solutions. Trying to find a way of bringing skilled potential job seekers closer to potential employers could potentially provide one answer . The ability to do this early enough in the educations/skilling cycle will yield better results. With the huge focus on skilling, across the Region, the importance of matching them with employability is well understood. The changing patterns of work catalysed by Globalization are creating a huge upheaval. Some parts of the Asia Pacific Region are witnessing a rapid increase in ageing population. Out of date training programmes are further adding to the woes, coupled with migration of those workers with better skills to greener pastures. A tighter linkage, in near real time, between employers and training organizations can enable effective skill matching. This in turn will enable potential employees to discover the appropriate career path which will be professionally fulfilling.

The very disruption that digital is creating, sector after sector; whether it is manufacturing or services or the humble agricultural sector, can indeed be addressed by Digital itself. A good example is what Dhiraj Ahuja of Skillskonnect is doing to solve the problem. He and his talented team have created a retail network using a SaaS ( Software as a Service) approach and built a platform called Gazabjobs. SaaS offerings are delivered from the Cloud! This platform digitally empowers training institutes, skill centres, colleges and job consultancies to launch their own website in less than a minute. Gazabjobs then provides them access to thousands of roles from a job pool. The employers benefit from a targeted captive network of job seekers. In countries like India, there are millions of partially and fully trained youth who find themselves without a suitable job due to lack of guidance and access to information relating to job pools. Furthermore, many Institutions which are offering skills training are still not digitalized when it comes to connecting them with the right set of potential placements for job seekers. The data on the Gazabjobs platform includes a compendium of job applications with details of hiring and rejections. It matches opportunities by leveraging Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to draw unique insights on market needs and then through appropriate engagement plans potentially offers job seekers counselling and suggestions on targeted training. These technologies will also over time, enable the platform to learn and predict the behaviours of it’s users. It also connects skilled workers with financial product providers, so as to help them through their career life cycle. For employers connected to the Skillskonnect network, they benefit through the access to qualified candidates that have been prechecked and whose intent has been evaluated, resulting in higher employee retention.

In Asia Pacific, there are millions of employable youth living in smaller towns and cities. However within the local areas, they are unable to connect with jobs relevant to their skills. Gazabjobs attempts to solve the problem, particularly in India’s Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Today the platform offers thousands of jobs from fast growing industries including manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, call centres, front line sale staff amongst many others.
Dhiraj is working hard not to just solve a social problem through a Digital Platform and do good, but also enable economic growth. Skillskonnect is becoming a “wholesale provider” of skills and is attempting to tackle the issue of unemployment by using Digital technologies and building a platform that leverages the Cloud. Thousands of job seekers have already benefitted. Gazabjobs accelerates hiring, skilling and financial inclusion for youth who are less fortunate or have got skilled in institutions that are digital laggards.

Dhiraj and his passionate team are burning the proverbial midnight oil to bring more partners on to their network and enable the creation of millions of livelihoods which in turn will usher in great joy and prosperity.

–  The author has spent 4 Decades in the IT Industry. The views expressed are his own

 

Other articles by Manoj Chugh

May A Billion Flowers Bloom!

Making Peace with Green

My tryst with Rajiv Gandhi

Bringing Physical and Digital Worlds together: Enabling India’s Demographic Dividend

Delivering Services the SST Way- The Time Is Here and Now!

Digital Workers at the Doorstep – Are you Ready?

Network Security Quo Vadis?

Guns, Roses and Cyberwarfare

Will Technology accelerate the bounce back?

Mirror Mirror on the wall: Can Technology bring hope to all?

New Year Wish: CIOs, May Your Tribe Increase!

The Second Renaissance – Seize The Moment

Will Smarter Citizens deliver Smart Cities?

Safe Cities: Melding Technology with Compassion

 

 

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