India’s Telecom Industry Faces Critical Skill Gap – 3.8x Increase by 2030
India’s telecom industry is currently grappling with a significant skill gap that is expected to increase by 3.8 times by 2030, according to a report released by the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC). The report highlights that the country already faces a demand-supply gap of 2.41 million skilled professionals in the telecom sector, which is projected to soar in the coming years.
One of the key issues contributing to this skill gap is the mismatch between the academic requirements and the industry demands. Shockingly, only 40 percent of India’s graduates in computer science, IT, and Mathematics are considered employable in the technology sector. This discrepancy puts a strain on the industry’s ability to find qualified talent.
The report titled Telecom Talent in 5G Era: Demand Supply Skill Gap Report 2023-24, produced in collaboration with Draup, sheds light on the current state of the telecom industry’s talent pool. Currently, there are 11.59 million employed professionals in the Indian telecom sector, comprising 2.95 million corporate talent and 8.24 million blue-collar talent. However, there is a pressing need for skilled workers in order to meet the demands of advancing technologies.
In fact, by 2025, the report predicts that India will require a staggering 22 million skilled workers in 5G-focused industries. These industries encompass areas such as cloud computing, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Still, there is hope for India, as it is the only country expected to have a surplus of skilled labor in the Technology, Media, and Telecommunications (TMT) sector by 2030, with an estimated 1.3 million workers.
Recognizing the need to address this critical issue, Atul Tiwari, Secretary of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, emphasized the importance of specialized skills and continuous upgradation in the telecom industry. The ministry is actively engaging with the industry to provide on-the-job training, internships, and apprenticeships that align with the latest industry standards. Additionally, efforts are being made to ensure skilling initiatives are in line with cutting-edge technologies, ultimately fostering a workforce ready for the future of telecom.
As technology continues to progress into the era of Web 3.0, the proportion of software in the telecom sector is expected to triple. The report suggests that powerful 6G network technologies, aided by artificial intelligence (AI) and the value of IoT and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), will emerge by 2023. This advancement has the potential to propel the telecom and tech industry to new heights.
Arvind Bali, CEO of the Telecom Sector Skill Council, emphasized the significance of the telecom sector in India, as it accounts for 6.5 percent of all foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow. By 2027, India is projected to account for 11 percent of all 5G subscriptions worldwide, solidifying its position in the industry. With the right reskilling and hiring strategies, targeting talent in Tier-II and III cities as well as universities, India can bridge the widening demand-supply gap by 2030.
In conclusion, India’s telecom industry faces a critical skill gap that is expected to significantly worsen over the next decade. Efforts to address this gap through specialized training programs and initiatives focusing on emerging technologies are essential to ensure a skilled workforce for the future. By leveraging the potential of 5G-focused industries, India has the opportunity to not only meet its own demand but also emerge as a global leader in the telecom and tech sector.