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Digital talent perhaps never had it so good. New age fintechs always valued them, now they are seeing a deluge of demand from non-tech brick-and-mortar companies. The skill and talent mix of organisations are witnessing a radical shift as digitalisation disrupts the consumption and business landscape.
Today, several organisations across industries are expanding the scope of hiring digital talent, which was traditionally not the case even a few years ago. As a result, the percentage of digital talent in the overall recruitment pie of non-IT organisations has increased over the last few years.
The demand for digital talent is up by 50-60% over the last two years, said Ronesh Puri, MD at Executive Access. “60-70% of companies are either increasing the hires for digital functions or top grading talent, with the increase in their digital footprint. The surge in numbers is being witnessed not just in those sectors which have a digital play like fintech, e-commerce and retail but also in brick-and-mortar companies including FMCG,” said Puri.
Swedish bearing and seal manufacturing major SKF this year expects about 25% of all new talent to come from new domains like digital. “Over the next three years, 38% of our future talent requirements — largely in manufacturing, product development, technology and sales — is expected to come from the technology and digital space,” said Gautam Kumar, CHRO & director of people experience — industrial region for India & southeast Asia at SKF.
S Venkatesh, group president (HR) at RPG Enterprises, said the group is looking at nearly doubling digital bench strength over the next one year. For its non-IT companies within the group, Venkatesh said, “It’s an inevitable step as we embrace digitalisation of technologies and processes, a journey we began quite a few years ago, including hiring of digital leaders (chief digital officers) for all our companies. For engineering, procurement and construction major KEC, digitalisation would greatly augment functional efficiencies, especially in project management/supply chain along with ability to offer technological offerings to customers.” Digitalisation refers to the use of digital tech to transform a business model and provide new value-producing opportunities.
For companies like Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals, technology has not only transformed its business but also the roles within the organisation. Satyajit Mohanty, the company’s VP (HR), said, “It has revolutionised the various ways we engage the workforce, from impacting our talent to creating a huge difference in our recruitment process. The skillset required today needs to be adaptable along with an attitude and an approach to work that will maximise our investment.”
Though currently the percentage of Crompton’s recruitment pie is less than 10%, the company expects a significant increase in the same — especially the premium paid for people who are strong on analytics and automation — which is going up in most of the hires the company is making.
For pharma companies, too, apart from the regular hiring of chemists, scientists, PhDs, sales representatives and MBAs, there are new areas where talent requirement has significantly gone up. Lupin president (global HR) Yashwant Mahadik said, “This requirement is in digitalisation, not only of the company’s existing processes from the IT or ITeS point, but also new digital business models that are evolving within pharma companies. We are planning towards getting into digital therapeutics and that’s where we are hiring people who don’t work in pharma today, but who are working in the Internet of Things (IoT) space and companies which are totally digitised. Attracting that talent and, a lot even in, say, R&D — where there’s a requirement of data scientists, digital experts and content developers — that is the biggest hiring that is happening right now in Lupin as well as in the pharma industry. Indeed, it’s a new talent hiring landscape that we’re seeing.”
As to the percentage of such new hires today compared to a few years ago, Mahadik said, “For the pharma industry, I would say five years ago, it was minimal. Today, it’s not very high — may be 3% — but it’s rising and inching towards 5% at least.”
There are several changes in consumer behaviour that are shaping this trend. For many companies, the share of online wallets has gone up. For some, it has even doubled. For instance, in the case of Dabur, the online share of business is up now at around 5% from 1-2% earlier, while in insurance, premiums paid online are up at 6-7% from 3-4%, said industry experts.
Realising the significance of this trend, SKF said its objective for hiring talent for new domains is clearly to create value for customers. Given the focus on sustainable mobility solutions in the automobile industry is defining its talent requirement strategy, Kumar said, “Currently, we are assessing the talent requirements to drive accelerated growth. Similarly, we’re focused on building multi-disciplinary talent to widen the capacity needed for digital transformation. By developing their technological knowledge and competencies, we are empowering our employees to quickly navigate the changing environment.”

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