Accenture is helping it's clients work with the gig economy or freelancers and helping them reinvent the workforce for competitive advantage in the digital age. It has also built in-house tools to help employees train better and choose their reskilling areas, a senior executive said.
“I think every company is experimenting with some pieces of the gig economy. It is important to think about the gig workers as part of the total workforce so that they are not treated as second-class citizens. Even if they are not part of the direct workforce, they are a part of the overall customer experience,” said Kent McMillan, managing director, Accenture Strategy – Talent & Organization.
McMillan’s division helps Accenture’s clients look at new ways of working for the workforce and prepare them for competitive advantage as businesses increasingly adopt the digital mode.
A recent report by industry bodies Nasscom, FICCI and consultancy EY said the gig economy, or freelancing, was providing employment opportunities to Indian software developers, creative and multimedia professionals, online sales and marketing professionals, writers, translators and data entry operators. This employment model is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
Nasscom has also stressed on the need for reskilling in different technologies. Of the 4.5 million people employed in the industry today, 1.5-2 million are expected to require reskilling in the next 4-5 years.
Information technology companies have been looking at ways to help their workforce adapt to changing technology and acquire soft skills.
Accenture, with its 477,000 strong workforce in 120 countries, has been at the forefront of the discussions around the future of work as traditional IT work gets increasingly digital.
“Organisations have a big role to play in the skilling aspect. They have to pivot the workforce. There are great examples of where companies have started to re-imagine how the new workforce looks like. For example, Accenture Technology in India has piloted a custom-built AI tool called Job Buddy which tells employees how vulnerable their job is to automation and predicts what training they might need so they can develop the right skills for the future,” said McMillan.
He said within Accenture, a large part of the workforce has trained itself in analytics.
“All the managing directors in the strategy team have been trained in analytics,” he said.
According to Nasscom’s CEO Survey, which was released in February, advanced analytics and AI were the top priority areas for over 50 per cent of global CEOs in terms of technology spend, followed by hybrid cloud and cybersecurity.
Another area often overlooked is dealing with cultural differences between traditional and ‘digital born’ companies.
“Even in very large businesses that we work with, we’re seeing them struggle because people are used to working in a hierarchical structure. For example, one digital born firm that we work with shared that when it hired people from traditional organisations as they wanted the industry knowledge, those people really struggled,” McMillan said.