While green shoots of recovery may not be visible for the global economy yet, CEOs of Indian IT firms seem to be “cautiously optimistic”, says a survey by Nasscom. Of the CEOs polled, 53% expect a similar or stronger global economy in 2020; 72% expect their global clients to deliver similar or better growth, while 60% expect tech spends to grow in developed markets in a similar range as in 2019.
But what is interesting is that as many as 73% expect another strong year for hiring. The findings were part of the ‘Strategic Review-Techade: The New Decade’ released on the sidelines of the three-day Nasscom Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2020, which commenced in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The survey also identified the top three growth drivers for business. Topping the list was large deals for digitsalisation; this was followed by growth in the key verticals of BFSI and retail; the third driver was enhanced business opportunities in Europe and APAC. And 57% of CEOs surveyed expected the industry’s business performance to be similar or somewhat better in 2020.
The study also identified three key risks: macroeconomic factors and global economic opportunities; lack of digital capabilities and skills; and cybersecurity. As for the CEOs’ digital acceleration strategy, reskilling and building the right talent pool was on top of their mind; this was followed by products and platforms, and partnerships and co-innovation.
Despite the challenges, 73% of the CEOs surveyed expect another strong year for hiring. A separate part of the report says the industry will see 205,000 net new hires this fiscal, of a 4.36-million strong workforce. “Talent, trust, and innovation remain our key imperatives as we move into the first year of this decade. The industry continued its hiring momentum with 205,000 new hires, and today we are proud to have 884,000 digitally skilled talent in the country. We will maintain this thrust with the launch of FutureSkills Prime to help build a workforce for the coming Techade,” Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh said while releasing the report.
But it was not just jobs, but also U.S. visa issues that were on people’s minds, what with the scheduled visit of President Donald Trump. At a media interaction, Ghosh said that the U.S. administration had to realise that over 90% of the H1B visas today were going to US IT companies, who needed the contribution of Indian talent to US innovation. “We cannot treat high-skilled talent mobility as an immigration problem,” she said. “High-skilled talent is critical for a country’s growth and the US does not have the talent required, especially in STEM and technology.”
The report also lists out five megatrends and emerging technologies for the next decade, which will push digitization-led global output to nearly $100 trillion or 40% of 2030 global GDP. Top of the list is a data-led economy, with 175 zettabytes of data by 2030; the second was the disrupted future of work, with 36% Gen Z making up the active workforce in 2030. The third is environmental sustainability stress, with three full earths being devoured per year by 2030. Fourth on the list is Asia’s economic eminence, with the continent accounting for 50% of the 2030 global GDP of $247 trillion. The fifth item on the list is mass urbanization and hyper-personalization, with 43 megacities, $3 trillion GDP per city by 2030.
This decade’s maiden report also highlights milestones during the past 10 years, such as the industry adding 2 million direct jobs, creating 10,000 technology companies, crossing $105 billion in overall revenue, and attracting $50 billion-plus FDI.