Colleges, businesses need to up their game to cope with AI, IoT: Report

Estimates are that digital spending could reach 75 per cent globally by 2025

Robotic shopping assistant AP (File) A robotic shopping assistant interacting with shoppers at a GIANT supermarket in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania | AP

Estimates suggest that only 20 per cent of today's engineers are employable in this age of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT), blockchain and cyber security. And it's high time that educational institutions, businesses and the government upped their game.

These are the findings of a report unveiled by the BML Munjal University, a higher education institution promoted by the Hero Group. The report, titled ÁI & Future of Work: Redefining Future of Enterprise, analyses the opportunities and challenges brought about by new-age tech changes and presents a roadmap for academic institutions, enterprises as well as the government on how to work together to fulfill the demand for qualified professionals in this new age where exponential technologies like AI and blockchain are going to rule the roost.

“Today, legacy skills, tools and technologies have become obsolete. New-age digital professionals proficient in AI, IoT are being called upon to enter the talent workforce, with a new set of skills,” said Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO of AIQRATE Advisory, who authored the report. “Organisations will now be deeply tested as they attempt to respond to a changing landscape over the next decade,” he added.

Estimates are that digital spending could reach as high as 75 per cent globally by 2025, up from just 10 per cent back in 2014. This will place immense demand on professionals qualified in these new-age skill sets. “This will put extreme pressure on India's IT industry to remain competitive at a global level,” the report notes.

The traditional tech workforce pyramid has started bulging in the middle, owing to its inability to meet these new skill requirements, the report notes. Estimates suggest only 20 per cent of engineers are employable. This suggests that nearly 2 million freshers and the existing technology workforce will need to be skilled (or re-skilled) in exponential technologies in the next three years.

The report calls on academic institutions to up their game by updating their curriculum, while companies need to develop a culture of continuous self-learning and collaborations with academia. The report further highlights need for new career frameworks and roles to be identified that help employees move from managerial positions to skill-based experts.

“It will not be an exaggeration to call the present scenario the largest talent challenger ever,” comments Vishal Talwar, dean, school of management, BML Munjal University.