In an exclusive interview with Higher Education Review, Rency Mathew, People Leader, India and South Asia, Global Capability Center, Bengaluru, Sabre Corporation, shares her valuable insights on the talent shortage in the Indian engineering domain, importance of nurturing leadership skills in students, workplace stress, and more.
According to Man Group's report of Talent Shortage 2020, 63 percent of the companies in India report a shortage of capable talent, especially in the IT and engineering space. Considering this, how do you view the Indian engineering education landscape?
Having a deep understanding of abstract theories and ideas is nothing without knowing how to apply them in the real world. We are living in an age where the change in science, technolo-gy, and society is not constant, but is accelerating at a pace that humankind has never seen before. An ever-growing part of the world's population is becoming digitally connected, has access to unlimited knowledge, and continues to add to it while col-laborating globally. University education must change and play an important role in this transformation.
Graduates should be equipped with knowledge and skills to effectively deal with and employ artificial intelligence, working with intelligent machines, rather than against them. They must prepare students for a labor market being mas-sively transformed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and is undeniably moving towards the development and use of key enabling technologies. It is important that engineering educa-tion prepares students to thrive in this world of flux and be prepared for whatever lies ahead. It must empower them to be leaders of innovation, to not only adapt to a changing world, but also be able to change it. It is they who can make the dif-ference by combining technical expertise with personal and professional traits for effective leadership.
IT industry is one of the most dynamic ones in terms of busi-ness strategies and the risk involved. How do you see the growing importance of leadership skills in the enterprise technology domain?
The future of work is heavily supported by technology. The leaders of today need to inculcate the right skills to help orga-nizations maintain a sense of competitiveness, in upskilling as well as initiating mentoring for the betterment of the teams. Every day, technology evolves, so organizations must con-stantly adapt to maintain cutting-edge technology to remain competitive. This involves responsive leadership, and orga-nizations need proper leadership structure in place to enable this progression. The company's resources need to change for a growth mindset that can ultimately drive the leaders to strat-egise things along with the latest trends and innovation.
Companies and organizations should be able to pivot them-selves before their competitor does. It is vital for leaders to be strong advocates for their teams, so that individuals and the team can achieve their set goals. The leader needs to equip the team with the right resources and direction, understanding their strengths and weaknesses to coordinate effectively. This can be beneficial in delivering training or additional workforce with the right expertise.
In the current scenario, communication skills play a vital role in helping us achieve the above. The team members need to receive constant feedback so that they can adjust their goals while moving ahead. Frequent communication means more transparency, which is key in developing strong collaborative teams. The leaders of the future need to be able to provide a clear direction and strategy to the staff. They should be com-petent enough to inspire and manage people.
Work-related stress is a major concern for IT companies and more than 70 percent of IT employees reported work-relat-ed stress in 2020. How do you see IT companies solving this issue and how is it adversely impacting the job appeal of IT companies?
One of the major causes of work-related stress is the impact of managers and their skills to manage their staff and stress in the workplace. Managers need to practice what they advise and ensure that they are following the work-life amalgamations that employees look for. Physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are tremendously significant when it comes to reducing work-place-related stress.
Wellness schemes, such as arranging for a discount at lo-cal gyms are a good way to help them unwind and feel better about themselves. Open communication is critical in leader-ship. Keeping team members up to date regarding changes, expectations and their own performance not only keeps them on track, but also reduces feelings of stress and anxiety. After all, there is nothing worse than being kept in the dark! As a su-pervisor, be sure to keep your team well-informed of the most recent developments and departmental modifications. Open communication is a two-way street, and the more you com-municate with your team members, the more likely they can share concerns, ideas, and thoughts, which leads to stronger working relationships and healthier company culture. Provide a `CHILL OUT' space in the office.
Sometimes people need 15 minutes to relax, re-group and extricate from technology and general work-related commu-nications. After taking a short break free from disruptions, people often feel refreshed and re-energised to tackle the rest of the day. Team members spend a lot of time with their as-sociates and therefore it's important they get along. Organise team lunches, social events, team away days, or arrange for a speaker to come into the office on a subject that interests your staff. Make it fun. Social activity is good for reducing stress, boosting morale, and team building.
Owing to the rising adoption of technology, many jobs are becoming obsolete. For students who aspire to get into the IT industry, what are some of the most future-proof career options to choose from?
In recent years, technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine Learning, data analytics, and cloud computing have grown rapidly but in just a short span of seven months, they have become a necessity. This driving force behind technolog-ical adaptations has fueled the demand for jobs and individuals with the skills and knowledge which meet the needs of digital-ly transformed industries and sectors.
Some of these roles are:
Machine learning engineers They create complex algo-rithms using big data to program machines (like self-driving cars or digital voice assistants) and carry out human-like tasks.
UX designer - A UX designer is responsible for the 'behind the scenes' design of software, websites, or apps that meet con-sumer habits, motivations, behaviors, and needs. With more and more businesses turning to digital platforms to endorse and sell their products or services, it's never been so important to ensure the user journey and experience are the best they can be.
Data scientist - As organisations collect and use more data every day, the necessity for skilled professionals has increased rapidly. With prospects to work in practically every sector and industry, from IT to entertainment, manufacturing to health-care, it's the accountability of data scientists to compile, pro-cess, evaluate and produce data for an association for it to make more well-versed decisions.
Cloud engineer - Cloud computing has become a must-have for those working remotely. In parallel, organizations have been hiring people with the skills and knowledge to migrate processes, execute infrastructure, and implement cloud-re-lated tasks. Cloud technologists are often titled under various roles, including solutions architects, cloud developers, and sysops engineers. In some cases, the roles and obligations will vary, but the overall duty of a cloud engineer is to develop, observe, and control a company's cloud approach.