The economy is in a slowdown, the industry is in turmoil and the employees are in shock as pink slips are distributed throughout leading IT firms in India. German based Deutsche Bank reportedly laid off over 10000 people globally, mostly those in the backend employees in the equity trading and investment banking divisions. Capgemini has laid off nearly 500 employees in India following customers scaling back on projects and other accounts not ramping up as fast as the company expected. Two of India’s biggest firms, Cognizant and Infosys have reportedly laid off employees in the mid and senior level to reduce employee cost and flatten the organization structure.
The role played by a mid-level manager is very vital in today’s business world as they are an important link in the entire organisational pyramid. Mid-level managers act as bridges that balance organisational loads, from being a part of corporate discussions to guiding the new talent. However, a significant latency is notices in the trajectory of their career path. The reason for this is the rapidly evolving business world with the upcoming digital technologies and increasing margin pressures faced by organisations.
The biggest problem is that there exists a severe knowledge gap with regard to the newest technologies and trends among mid-level professionals. This unawareness or oblivion is proving to be a huge problem for organisations.
While some may advocate large scale re-skilling for the mid-level, not many organisations find that to be a wise investment anymore.
There is no dearth of skilled fresh talent who are proficient in new technologies and skill-sets. Due to this, midlevel managers are experiencing the push from below. So, what is the way ahead for mid-level professionals and how can they ensure to stay ahead of the curve along the strong undercurrents of change? Upskilling, reskilling, and continuous learning is the answer to stay relevant and productive.
In the late 20th century, college graduates who came out with a degree and skills in a particular domain managed to work a lifetime without upskilling. That’s no longer what we see today, as repetitive jobs are being taken over by the wave of automation. Wondering if this is going to take over jobs from humans? Well, not really. The new wave of digitisation and smart bots will certainly put an end to tasks of repetitive nature but will also open new vistas of opportunities.
The need of the hour is to recognise that mid level as well as senior level managers need to upskill. Learning is a life long process that needs to be reintroduced in the corporate culture.
Take the example of Archit Uppot, Alumni of the Institute of Product Leadership. He was a member of the SAP ecosystem when he realised that product management was something he wanted to delve into and began his executive MBA in product leadership in Pune. His experience there gave him practical application of the concepts as opposed to just the academic perspective. This helped build a deeper understanding and confidence in the applications of these concepts.
When it comes to upskilling, programs like the Architect Readiness Program, Digital Architect Program, Product management, Cyber Security, RPA, Cloud Orchestrator, Data Visualization, etc. are getting increasingly popular in the technology areas. In parallel, diversity based programs such as Women Leadership, and Techno-Leadership programs such as Human Error Avoidance and Building Business Partnerships for delivery teams are also gaining popularity as they provide cognitive and design thinking perspectives to mid-level managers.
Brahmaiah Reddy of Adobe was looking for a mid career transition and a chance to explore something more transformative when he found the Institute of Product Leadership. Because of his experience there and the real world applications he learnt, he changed his thinking process to a more structured product management thinking through best practices and specially designed industry-based EMBA curriculum.
For Sukhendu Deb Roy, Manager Technology Business Incubator from the Indian Institute of Science(IISc), the journey was more about a transition for his reality to a vision, He had chosen IPL as part of his career transition journey from being a design engineer towards product management & Entrepreneurship.
The above stories are just a drop in the ocean of the professional programs brought to the industry through innovative collaborations between the Institute of Product Leadership and various industry partners. The fact that such programs are delivered by institutions which combine the academic rigour and pedagogical expertise of educational institutions in collaboration with industry practitioners delivering customised use cases, ensures that measurable productivity benefits are witnessed both by learners and the organisations.