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An employee speaks on a mobile phone as she eats her lunch at the cafeteria in the Infosys campus in the southern Indian city of Bangalore September 23, 2014.Reuters file

Tech giant IBM recently laid off 300 employees from its software services division to make room for people with upgraded skills in automation, machine learning and cloud computing. The development comes days after US-based Cognizant cut off at least 200 mid-senior level positions from its India offices creating ripples in the IT industry. IBM has taken the decision "to reinvent itself" and meet the changing needs of customers.

"This in accordance with IBM's strategy to re-invent itself to better meet the changing requirements of our business and to pioneer new high-value services. IBM "remains committed to being an essential part of its (India's) growth," the company's official statement said, according to Economic Times.

The entire IT industry is currently doing away with the traditional software roles and undertaking training employees or hiring fresh talent which has upgraded skillset on emerging technologies. IBM said that it took the decision after a reassessment of the current workforce and an increasing demand of adding workforce to the cloud, artificial intelligence and other evolving areas. It added that several employees are even being re-trained to be able to meet the new challenges.

Notwithstanding the claims made by multinational as well as India-based IT firms of increased hirings, a report by the McKinsey & Company suggested that nearly half of the workforce in the IT industry will become irrelevant in next two years. This poses a serious challenging to India's IT industry which employs nearly 3.9 million people.

The fact remains that new technologies will also add 14 lakh new jobs to India alone by 2027 but for that, the firms would have to retrain its existent workforce to cater to the demands of their clients. 

Indian IT sector

Even as the IT firms have been reluctant to state that automation is slowly replacing the human workforce in the sector, the companies are looking for a replacement of basic jobs such as in services sector that no longer addresses their needs. The retraining of a majority of the existent employees could be an extensive exercise which is not preferred by the tech giants in India or elsewhere.