Future of Work: In Pursuit of Reskilling and Upskilling in India | Octagona

The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the global movement towards the future of work. As a result, millions of workers worldwide are losing employment. Hence, with the changing demand for skills, what should be done to bridge the gap in India going forward?

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), global unemployment is forecasted to rise by about 2.5 million in 2020. Whilst the economy may bounce back soon, reskilling and upskilling attempts should follow suit. Such an effort must take place to cater to the new employment demands for production, sales, and service-driven platforms. Therefore within 4-5 years, the educational qualifications and job skills must be improved for India to reach its 2017-2018 GDP level.

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New technologies, new skill sets in the future of work

The adoption of new technologies has shown acceleration across a range of industries in the past two years. These new technologies are set to drive future growth, as well as to increase the demand for new job roles and skillsets. For instance, here are the technologies with industries utilizing them:

  • Cloud computing: IT
  • E-commerce: Consumer sector
  • Big data, Internet of Things (IoT), Non-humanoid robots: Metals and mining
  • Encryption: Government and public sector
  • Artificial intelligence (AI): Digital information and communications, financial services, healthcare, and transportation

Jobs lost, jobs gained in the future of work

The technological adoptions, however, may impact the job landscape. Besides, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report also pointed to the double disruptions of automation and pandemic. 85 million jobs will be displaced by 2025 while on the other hand, 97 million new roles may emerge.

Job landscape

Jobs in growing demand since 2018

  • Data Analysts and Scientists
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning Specialists
  • Big Data Specialists
  • Robotics Engineers
  • Software and Application developers
  • Digital Transformation Specialists

Emerging jobs in growing demand in 2020

  • Process Automation Specialists
  • Information Security Analysts
  • Internet of Things (IoT) Specialists

Emerging jobs within specific industries

  • Materials Engineers in the automotive sector
  • E-commerce and Social Media Specialists in the consumer sector
  • Renewable Energy Engineers in the energy sector
  • FinTech Engineers in financial services
  • Biologists and Geneticists in health and healthcare
  • Remote Sensing Scientists and Technicians in mining and metals

Redundant jobs by 2025

  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Accounting and Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Accountant and Auditors
  • Assembly and Factory Workers
  • Business Services and Administrative Managers
Top 20 jobs in increasing and decreasing demand across industries

Top 20 jobs in increasing and decreasing demand across industries

Cross-functional skills in demand for the future of work

Automation will have a lesser effect on jobs that involve managing people, applying expertise, and social interactions. That is where machines are unable to match human performance for now. Therefore, these cross-functional skills are in top demand due to their humane advantages:

  • complex problem-solving
  • technology design and programming
  • active learning
  • emotional intelligence
  • service orientation
  • analytical thinking
  • leadership & social influence
top skills of 2025
Relative importance of different skill groups

Reskilling and upskilling for the future of work

There is already a strong awareness amongst individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online through their initiative and money. For instance, those in employment emphasize personal development courses. Meanwhile, those who are unemployed emphasize learning digital skills such as data analysis, computer science, and information technology.

The future of work has already arrived as demand for new capabilities gathers pace. Therefore, to remain competitive, employers should take initiative and provide incentives to reskilling and upskilling their staff. This is also an effort to recognize the value of human capital investment. It has been proven to be an important aspect for both the benefit of the company and society at large.


Reskilling means looking for people with ‘adjacent skills’, that are close to the new skills the company requires. In short, it provides a lateral learning experience. Furthermore, the World Economic Forum estimates that over half of all employees (54%) will require ‘significant’ reskilling by 2022.


Upskilling means teaching employees new, advanced skills to close talent gaps. Moreover, it involves team members in continuous education and helps them to advance along their current career path. These employees may have worked for the organization for several years and possess an in-depth understanding of both the company culture and the customers.


In conclusion, the future of work with its challenges and perks are inevitable. The pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas. For instance, cloud computing, big data, e-commerce, and the internet of things. There is also a significant rise in interest in encryption and artificial intelligence. Therefore, every stakeholder must continue making an effort to make a smooth transition.

Business leaders must understand that reskilling employees is both cost-effective and has significant mid-term to long-term dividends. Not only for their enterprise but also for the benefit of society more broadly. Furthermore, the public sector needs to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling for at-risk or displaced workers. Additionally, it will be important for governments to consider the longer-term labor market implications of whatever COVID-19 crisis support they are providing to support wages and maintain jobs.

This article was initially published by Vishnu Krishna, Director of Octagona India Private Limited.

Greenhouse is a technology platform helping startups and entrepreneurs find reliable corporate service providers in Asia-Pacific. India is one of our most recent markets with Octagona as one of our key partners. Learn more about our solutions and our partners.

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