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What jobs is India's digital revolution generating?

Goutam Das     May 2, 2019

The digital revolution of today is a mixed bag in terms of employment. While automation is threatening both blue-collar and white-collar jobs in many industries, it is also generating employment in sectors that are at the forefront of this revolution, like in e-commerce and warehousing. A new report by AIMA and KPMG on the 'socio-economic impact of digital transformation' in India lists some of the newer job creation engines.

Here are they:

Online labour:  The report quotes the Online Labour Index (OLI) to state that India constitutes 24 per cent of the online labour market share (as of 2017), creating employment opportunities for software developers, data entry operators, online sales, and creative professionals.

E-commerce: The report mentions that the "growing e-commerce industry is creating job opportunities in the logistics sector, along with the development of new services on the supplier side. The e-commerce market is expected to increase at an annual rate of 51 per cent from Rs 2,484.9 billion in 2017 to Rs 8,526.5 billion in 2020, providing the potential for jobs related to warehouse management, content developers, and marketing professionals."

Aggregator model: Digital marketplaces have emerged as a route to employ India's large army of blue-collar workforce. The report states that "the advent of technology-enabled aggregator business models in sectors such as cab services, food delivery, hotel bookings and home service experts has surged new jobs in India".

Technology start-ups: Most of the digital marketplaces are start-ups. This apart, other start-ups are creating employment too. The report mentions that the "number of tech start-ups in India has increased by 12-15 per cent during 2013-18 period, increasing the requirement of new job roles in the fields of Big Data, analytics and cloud computing".

The AIMA-KPMG report does add that the implementation of advanced digital technologies is expected to replace low and mid-skilled jobs with high-skilled ones.

"In the U.S. and Europe, there has been a shift from labour intensive jobs, creating polarisation and increasing importance of high-skilled jobs. In line with the global trend, new job roles pertaining to niche technologies such as data scientist, 3D printing, digital marketing, and block chain designer have also gained traction in India," the report mentions. 

"In the Indian automotive sector, enterprises are focusing on leveraging AI and ML to augment their data management and analytics capabilities leading to a growth in jobs related to these domains. In addition, there has been an increase in jobs in the field of cybersecurity, social media services, and mobile application development. These jobs require skill sets such as managing and interpreting big data/analytics, cloud services, machine learning, etc," the report adds.

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