Lack of skilled talent in cybersecurity is a reality, but jobs can be outsourced to avoid pains of hiring, say experts

  • The experts needed for hi-tech job roles such as in Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Data Securities are woefully short in India.

  • As the demand for disruptive technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Analytics grows, shortage of a skilled IT workforce to run them is posing a challenge to the stake-holders,

  • The industry will face a shortage of 230,000 skilled techies as jobs in AI and Big Data are estimated to be 780,000 by 2021

Cybersecurity experts are woefully short in India. So much so that the banking sector is now talking about how in spite of its sophisticated machinery to combat cyber threats, it is unable to do much as there are not many cybersecurity experts who can work on the system.

State Bank of India (SBI) deputy MD and chief informtion officer Dhananjaya Tambe stressed the lack of skilled talent in cybersecurity. "We have invested in world-class technology, but we need people to make use of it," he said pointing out people and processes were as important as technology in fighting cybercrime in a report in The Times of India.

The experts needed for hi-tech job roles such as in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics and Data Securities are woefully short in India.

As the demand for disruptive technologies like AI and Data Analytics grows, shortage of a skilled IT workforce to run them is posing a challenge to the stake-holders, National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) said.

"There is an urgent need to re-skill about 50 percent of India's IT workforce, as demand for it in new technologies remains unmet," Nasscom's IT-ITeS (IT-enabled Services) Sector Skills Council chief executive Amit Aggarwal had said earlier. The Nasscom is the apex body representing the country's IT and business process management (BPM) industry

The special skilled IT professionals in niche fields such as AI and data analytics are needed in a slew of industries, especially those dealing in finance. The banking sector, and especially the public sector banks have not been able to attract talents from the IT field.

"Yet, India's banking industry in comparison to other sectors has been the most proactive to security. However, the current measures are inadequate considering the traditional approach to IT security,” said Ajay Shah, Head-Recruitment Services, TeamLease Services. The traditional multilayered defence that banks have is inadequate, he said.

 Lack of skilled talent in cybersecurity is a reality, but jobs can be outsourced to avoid pains of hiring, say experts

Representational image. Reuters.

Another reason for the shortage is due to skillsets that are specific to the job requirements. The demand-supply gap for skills affected the industry's performance in 2018, due to a shortage of about 140,000 skilled techies for 500,000 jobs in the industry across verticals.

"Going forward, the industry will face a shortage of 230,000 skilled techies as jobs in AI and Big Data are estimated to be 780,000 by 2021," Aggarwal from Nasscom said.

In a report titled 'The Future of Jobs 2018', the World Economic Forum (WEF) said around 54 percent of the global workforce had to be re-skilled or up-skilled to work in disruptive and digital technologies spawning the virtual world. AI, big data analytics and cloud computing will dominate businesses across verticals till 2022, changing job profiles for geeks, while legacy jobs will vanish, the report said. Admitting that the multi-billion-dollar IT industry had a vital role in creating jobs as well as in churning out the required skilled workforce, Aggarwal said India was well-positioned to bridge the demand-supply gap, as it had a wealth of talent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Around 59 percent of the organisations have vacant cybersecurity positions. One of the reason is the lack of investment, not only by institutes with not many offering courses on cybersecurity but even companies do not invest in such programmes for employees, said Shah of TeamLease. This has compounded the problem of talent hiring. By 2020, the gap will widen to 1.5 million, he predicted.

Is there a scope for fear and despair? The latest Project Management Institute (PMI)-commissioned talent gap analysis by Anderson Economic Group (AEG) points to outstanding opportunities in jobs and career growth for project managers within the 11 countries (China, India, United States, Brazil, Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia and UAE) studied. Through 2027, the project management-oriented labour force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 33 percent or nearly 22 million new jobs.

By 2027, employers will need nearly 88 million individuals in project management-oriented roles. China and India will represent more than 75 percent of the total project management-oriented employment.

The report shows that project managers are important contributors to productivity. Talent shortages in the profession can potentially create risks of nearly US$208 billion in Gross Domestic Power (GDP over the 10-year period in the 11 countries examined.

However, some experts feel that the lack of ‘talent attraction’ in cybersecurity, for instance, could be because of the PSU sector. “That does not really appeal to many,” said Shiv Kumar, Senior VP, New Era India-leadership consulting services. He says that when a StanChart or an HDFC can attract and hire cybersecurity experts, then it isn’t because there is no availability of requisite talent that a PSU bank cannot but hire them but because it is simply not appealing. “Talent attraction is very important. Everyone wants to go into consultation or top-notch IT firms with niche skill sets like cybersecurity or data analytics,” he said.

However, he said banks and any sector that are unable to hire such key talent should then take the route of outsourcing. “Banks and other sectors can then outsource the top-notch experts for cybersecurity. They don’t have to be in the talent hunt for individuals then..Outsourcing is the next best option and has minimal risk,” he said.

Updated Date: Aug 21, 2019 17:05:52 IST