Accepting Automation In India, 2021
COVID-19 has changed the world completely. What started as a small threat to a city in one country, has so rapidly spread that it has impacted every business sector and industry- driving millions of people jobless and billions of people to stay behind closed doors.
While the majority of the workforce has shifted to work-from-home, what is the scene like for Engineers? In a country like India, where more than 15 lakh students graduate every year, the pandemic has struck the workforce hard. Majority of engineers have lost jobs, with a small population resorting to make a shift from their field due to reduction in hiring.
Studies have found that despite having over 6000 institutes teaching engineering, less than 20 percent get the right qualifications for field-specific jobs. Due to high skill unmatch between the graduates and job requirements, the majority of the students either have to settle for other streams, go for higher studies or remain unemployed. Underpayment is another (but equally important) matter of concern.
Job opportunities for engineers in India are at high risk. Unless institutes take into consideration the demand for the right skill, and modify their curriculum, making it more inclusive of industry-specific training, highly specialized courses and continual revisions, engineers will remain unfit for the industries. However, this is not to say all fields of engineering are affected. COVID-19 created a need for more automation engineers in various sectors, and the IT sector is at an all-time high.
Accelerating automation in industries post COVID-19, automation and digitization saw a huge surge. With reduction in the workforce, automation created a scope for unhindered growth. While the world was slowly adopting AI, ML and automation, COVID-19 increased the pace of adoption of highly efficient and fast-paced working methods.
Automation received a great positive response and instantaneous acceptance in pharmaceuticals, healthcare, automotives, and manufacturing sectors, amongst others. Jobs in automation industry post covid may not have changed completely, but the need for automation engineers has surely risen. Industries with high risks, and hazardous jobs is replacing the human workforce with bots to reduce risks and injury. When the country is adopting such measures, more and more developers and robot manufacturers are needed to fill in the demand and supply gap.
What about the future of industrial automation?
Increased need for productivity, agility and efficiency calls for a huge demand in the automation industry, especially in a rapidly developing industry like that of India.
A reduction in hazardous jobs, with machines rapidly learning, improvising and perfecting monotonous tasks, including that of quality checks, can be expected in the coming years. While it is seen that the cost and use of robots over the past 3 decades has reduced to more than half, it is expected to reduce further. It may completely replace manual labour on the floors in the coming years, as well. This means more demand for automation.
What can you do?
Upskilling oneself constantly, matching industry needs and standards has become paramount. Rapid changes are expected in the future. So, for an engineer or an aspirant, it is crucial to take into account the course material offered at universities and colleges and if they are at par with the highly demanding and dynamic field. One must stay in the know about new developments in the industry and keep oneself updated with current and future needs.