The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a worldwide economic downturn and several, if not, most countries are expected to experience a form of recession in late 2020. The Indian economy lost $4.5 billion per day during the first phase of the lockdown and the private sector bore the brunt of this unexpected downturn.
A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report has reported that the Indian economy has shrunk by 5.9 % in 2020. While the economy is expected to rebound in 2021, the 5.9% shrinkage might translate into a permanent loss of income.
IT Sector Job Losses-A Comparative Analysis
The Center for Monitoring Indian Economy(CMIE) has estimated that 18.9 million salaried jobs were lost between April and July 2020. In India, the IT and associate sectors employed approximately 5 million jobs before the pandemic. During the initial phase of the lockdown, employees in the IT sector experienced job loss, significant pay cuts, and loss of pay. As of August, it is estimated that 1,50,000 jobs were lost in the IT sector. Client facing roles experienced the highest loss, however, technology and IT support roles also faced a significant downturn.
In comparison, the hospitality and automobile sector experienced 3,80,000 and 10,00,000 losses respectively. The travel and tourism sector experienced the hardest hit with approximately 55,00,000 lakh jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Artificial Intelligence and its Role in the IT Industry Rebound
Jobs relating to Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotic Process Automation were expected to pick up the pace during Q1 of 2020. While the pandemic disrupted the job market, these jobs are still expected to be in demand in Q4 and beyond.
Some of the jobs that are likely to be in high demand include:
Python programming lies at the core of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. In the past five years, machine learning has become an integral part of industries such as manufacturing, retail, finance, healthcare, and automotive.
Python is a high-level program that requires the least amount of coding. Python is also platform-independent and highly flexible. Industry giants such as Facebook and Google are adopting Python with average salaries ranging around INR 7.00.000 per annum. Therefore, Python programmers will continue to be in demand going into 2021 and beyond.
Data scientists were in high demand before the lockdown and this trend has continued well into 2020. Data scientists are required to analyze vast amounts of data, and help organizations make predictions based on machine learning models. There is a genuine dearth of analysts and analytic experts in India, and reports have shown that tech firms are willing to pay competitive salaries for those with technical backgrounds.
IBM has predicted that the demand for data analyst and scientist jobs will grow by 28% by the end of 2020. Candidates with experience in Python, Spark, Scala, and Hadoop are likely to be highly sought after.
Data Security Analyst
As organizations increasingly move toward cloud-based computing and networking, data security assumes high importance. While the overall job count may remain small, its importance has increased manifold. Before the pandemic, a NASSCOM report had suggested that India would require a million professionals in the cyber-security space. The General Data Protection Regulation has also re-inforced this need, especially for organizations with European clients. According to Glassdoor, the national average for these roles is approximately INR 5,18,000.
While the pandemic has caused severe disruptions for job seekers and employers in the IT sector, there is room for optimism in the upcoming months. Industry and economic trends are pointing toward a positive outlook, and there is cause for hope.