As telecom mergers result in loss of jobs, the new jobs that will be created will be more specialized and advanced than existing ones, said Sameer Khanna, head of human resources at mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson India. Graduates and workers alike must constantly learn new skills and technologies as the telecom sector changes rapidly, Khanna said in an interview. Edited excerpts:
Do you plan to pick up surplus telco talent post the big telecom mergers?
Telecom is going through a state of consolidation right now. As a result of operator consolidation, the number of jobs to be created in the sector is unlikely to be more than the number of jobs lost. But the quality of jobs being created is and will be more specialized and advanced than the existing ones. Some merged entities might grow and eventually result in employment.
At Ericsson, we have over 20,000 employees across India. We hired 1,500 people in managed services during January-February 2017. We are aggressively looking for data scientists and talent with expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT) space across entry and mid to senior levels.
Individuals who can learn to learn and can reskill themselves with the emerging technological advancements will continue to be high on demand.
What is the right talent for you at Ericsson?
We have changed from a predominantly voice-driven market to a data- led one in the last few years and that has had an impact on the kind of workforce you see in companies across the telecom industry. From an individual’s perspective, we always look at the right attitude and a high learnability quotient.
What are the skill requirements at your global service centres?
The skills needed are on IT and cloud technologies for this year. The future skills that need to be developed are more to do with IoT and 5G.
Going forward, which developments in the telecom space will become talent magnets?
With evolving technologies like 4G and 5G and fast-changing user behaviour, operations support system/business support system, IoT, smart cities, technology changes in small cells and fibre technology will be talent pullers in the telecom sector.
What kind of telco talent demand will smart cities lead to?
Smart cities will lead to aggressive hiring of telco talent. As IoT starts impacting business processes, data scientists will be high on demand. It will also require constant reskilling of existing workforce as well as induction of new and specialized skills.
Are educational institutes producing the right talent for the telecom sector?
Our universities try to connect with industry but at times, the pace of change in the curriculum is not as fast as the demand in the industry. So, graduates need to constantly learn and adapt on the job about newer technologies. Organizations, too, must invest on reskilling employees in the new technologies.