Accenture India Chairperson comments on the skill requirements in a digital India

10 May 2019 3 min. read

Adaptation to the new digital environment not only involves the development of new skills amongst the workforce, but is also heavily conditional on fast and flexible models of learning, according to Accenture India Chairperson and Senior Managing Director Rekha M. Menon.

Speaking to liveMint, Menon comments on a rapidly changing work environment in India, wherein digital skills include the ability to work in collaboration with robots and artificial intelligence. Analysis over recent years has revealed that one in ten jobs across the Indian business environment will require an entirely different skill profile over the next half decade.

Menon echoes this claim, detailing examples of some of these changes. The first and perhaps most predictable of these changes will be the emergence of skills that require controlling robots and other technological implements, such as drone operators or social media managers.

On the flipside, the advent of automated technology is likely to relieve professionals of a significant part of their routine administrative functions, which will free up time and space for the development of other skills that might better suit the role being played. Menon uses the healthcare sector as an example of this.Rekha Menon - Senior Managing Director - Accenture

“For example, a healthcare provider or a nurse, but as his or her need for administrative tasks disappears because that’s got automated, then he or she has to build on different skills like more empathy, more time for the patients, etc. And that’s the second thing that is happening,” she explains. 

Thirdly, new skills are emerging that require the moulding of machine behaviour to respond to unique nuance and context. Customer service is the best example of this, given that a number of large organisations now delegate the collection of customer feedback to automated platforms.

These platforms must be managed to ensure that the mood and mindset of the customer can be gauged to generate an appropriate response. To develop these skills, however, Menon identifies an outdated approach that is being taken by most businesses currently, not to mention a deficit in investment.

Where skills have traditionally been developed over a period of time prior to engagement, Menon believes the time has come to learn on the go in a quick and flexible manner. However, while 80% of business executives currently recognise the need for upskilling in their organisation, less than 3% have plans to fund training programmes in the near future.

“The whole thinking has to change, the whole framework has to change and see how we equip our children not with content but how to learn. How do we make them agile, equip them with human skills, because a lot more of that will be needed,” says Menon, speaking at a time when Accenture is rapidly eating into the market share of IT services giants in India.