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Manpower muddle

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DQW Bureau
21 Dec 2001





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Earlier this month, a number of leaders of the Indian software industry gathered at Delhi's Taj Palace hotel. The event: The ASOCIO Summit. Sure enough, in this three days long event lot of heat was generated and topics like cross-border IT services, IT-enabled services, e-commerce, software product development etc were hotly debated.

In all this, one crucial thing was missing: manpower availability. This is the most crucial issue facing the software industry today. Although everybody is aware of this issue but surprisingly, nobody is willing to stick his neck out and take the bull by its horns. In other words, there are just not enough technically qualified people available in the market today, notwithstanding the fact that India has one of the largest base of highly-skilled, English speaking programmers and software developers. The fact of the matter is they are there and yet they are not there.





As it is, today the inflow of new qualified manpower in the industry is very low. On top of that, what is happening is that companies are snatching people from one another. Company A recruits a person who after some time joins company B and then to company C and maybe back to company A later. As a result of this muddle, the salary levels are going through the roof which in turn, is going to make a dent in India's reputation as a cheap base for software development in the long run. And if that happens, then the era of 50 percent plus growth rates in software exports will only become a distant memory. The net result will be that India's ambition of becoming a software superpower will remain just a dream.

So what needs to be done to come out of this muddle? The biggest thing which can be done is that the industry needs to get closely involved with the academicia in the technical institutes to ensure that what is being taught is absolutely current and relevant to the needs of the industry. Only then the quality of offtake will be good resulting in adequate availability of qualified people. The other important factor is manpower retention and retraining. In this fast changing cyber world, it has become imperative for companies to constantly retrain there people so that they don't get obsolete. In addition, companies have to devise newer and more innovative HRD policies to retain their people.

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