Global Business | Entrepreneurship: How India’s digital talent powers global businesses, fuels innovation and spurs entrepreneurship

McKinsey & Co CEO Bob Sternfels spoke to The Economic Times last month about India’s potential and its role in the global economy. “A lot of people have said it’s India’s decade. I actually think it’s India’s century if we look at some of the commodities here. India is the future talent factory for the world. By 2047, India would have 20% of the world’s working population,” Sternfels said. He stressed that digitization is one of those commodities, saying, “India has made a leap forward on the digital scale.”

India’s digital talent has played a crucial role in ensuring its high global rank as a growing economy. As such, his responsibility to drive the next phase of growth is second to none.

Traditional ways to unlock global opportunities
Being part of digital agencies and offshoring service companies has traditionally been a way to access international opportunities. After that, several multinationals – including Microsoft, Amazon, Uber and others – opened offices in India, giving our talents the opportunity to work with people all over the world. The migration of Indian intellectuals to other nations to quench their desire to influence the world has been a subject of great debate in recent decades. In recent years, India’s talents have uncovered further opportunities that allow them to become a direct player in the global economy. Freelance jobs are in high demand right now, and this trend is being accelerated by many sites like Upwork and Fiverr.

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New generation, new possibilities
Tech professionals in India today are striving to own the processes they used to be just a part of. They are more willing than ever to collaborate, express their ideas and create new things. As a result, a rapidly emerging new structure is creating global products by building startups by collaborating with entrepreneurs very early on. Such setups give digital talent access to international consumers, global markets and real stakeholders.

This allows digital talent thousands of miles away to embrace the ethos of productization and create truly global companies.

The depth of talent working in international markets is aware of the many benefits of working internationally, and the most important is being exposed to different cultures and perspectives. A generation that can start international companies is growing up because a person in a small Indian hamlet can now understand the needs of a customer in Munich, Melbourne, Mumbai or Manhattan.

Along the road
If India needs to secure its digital edge, much more can be done to maintain our position as a top destination for digital talent and drive the next phase of development and innovation. We need to think about how we can progressively close gaps, develop a workforce with digital skills and reduce the risk of talent migrating to other countries while closing the skills gap.

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Digital training

Digital upskilling has been a buzzword for quite some time. Every company realizes that it is no longer a pioneering strategy, but a necessity to remain competitive. However, very few companies have cracked the code for effectively training their employees. The right mindset at management level is the starting point for digital skills. Practical training programs that can be quickly applied in the current work environment are a big step. Whenever a new skill needs to be added, upskilling internal teams is just as important as hiring people from within the industry.

Alternative talent pools

Given the gap between supply and demand for digital talent in India and globally, it is time to nurture new talent pools. Not only will this provide a much-needed boost to our mission to make India a global destination for digital talent, but it will also help tame unemployment to some extent.

The largest untapped talent pool in India is women. Widespread acceptance of remote work is a shot in the arm to accelerate women’s participation in the workforce. Digital home jobs have the potential to provide women with a much-needed source of income, allowing them to further outsource less-skilled tasks.

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Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities are another untapped talent pool. The growth of digital infrastructure in the most remote parts of India has sparked aspirations. Once stuck in balancing family responsibilities, youth now know they can easily become a part of India’s mainstream digital economy.

Break the shackles

A rethink has begun for companies looking beyond traditional STEM and high-level college credentials to meet their talent needs. This must be universally acknowledged and accepted. The rise of qualification mediums other than universities bodes well for the entire ecosystem. It’s time for individuals to become more open to switching industries without taking their previous education and experience with them as baggage. The industry is generally more open to hiring talent skilled in upskilling and reskilling.

India adds about 12 million people to the working-age population annually. With the right infrastructure, the right approach, and the right mindset, we can continue to power global businesses. And jump further with it.

(The author is a co-founder of GoGroup)

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