The IT/BPM knowledge-driven industries continue to have a high ask for a workforce with analytical and critical thinking abilities, providing in turn, rewarding job prospects.
As per a recent IMF report, it is predicted that there will be a global shortage of more than 85 million tech workers, representing $8.5 trillion in lost annual revenue by 2030. Sri Lanka currently has around 600+ companies in its IT / BPM eco-system that generates US$ 1.7 Bn in revenue. The industry envisages further growth by 2025 and aims to establish 1,000 start-ups, create 200,000 jobs and grow industry revenue to US$5 billion.
In the wake of this market landscape, The National Future Talent Initiative (NFTI) is being launched to encourage more people to join the IT/BPM workforce and to invite interested parties to join hands in creating a steady stream of talent entering this lucrative industry. This is a collective initiative supported by the Ministry of Education, ICTA, FITIS, CSSL, BCS Sri Lanka, state and non-state universities, professional bodies, other tertiary and vocational training institutions and donor partners and is incubated by SLASSCOM (the national chamber for the IT and BPM industry).
The key focus is to reach out to the country’s very capable youth population to help them understand the future career prospects offered by the IT/ BPM sector. The National Future Talent Initiative (NFTI) is designed to work as an umbrella for all talent drives in the industry and provide the youth with a guided path to pursue a career in IT/ BPM that fits their interest.
“The industry has over the past few years launched many initiatives to increase the talent output. We now feel it is time to bring these efforts together and enhance their reach. Therefore, these programmes will deliver results faster and more efficiently, sharing experiences or expanding their scope, reducing unnecessary duplication, and making a bigger impact.” Ashique M Ali, the Chairman of SLASSCOMsaid, announcing the rationale for the NFTI program.
Presenting further details of the goals of the programme, Madu Ratnayake, chair, NFTI steering committee said that the initiative aims to build awareness among 100,000 students and 50,000 potential BPO professionals of career opportunities in the knowledge industry to attract new talent. Its other key goals include getting 500 people into part-time teaching to build teaching capacity, 5000 people into freelancing work to capitalise on immediate opportunities and 200 companies to offer internships to give a head start for the new talent generated from the initiative and lay the foundation for a progressive talent development ecosystem for the future.
“Building a stronger talent ecosystem is critical for the future of the knowledge industry. We invite all stakeholders to join hands in this national initiative at this pivotal juncture to significantly accelerate our talent development initiatives to help Sri Lanka stay globally competitive for years to come”, Ratnayake explained, requesting support for the programme.
Arjuna Nanayakkara, CEO, GTN Technologies and Head of Global Shared Services, GTN Group and steering committee member NFTI added “The IT/ BPM industries offer many career choices for those who have a passion for technology and problem-solving and are analytical-minded. It is for school leavers, fresh graduates as well as seasoned professionals. The IT/ BPM sector provides career opportunities in which they can leverage their core field of knowledge. For example, there are BPM companies that provide services in health care, finance and law where doctors, nurses, lawyers and accountants who are passionate about technology can have a career in tech, using their core skill set”.
The widening of the service portfolio that includes greater market penetration and evolution of world-class delivery capabilities are testimony to the robust growth of the sector. Bolstered by these factors, a career in the IT/BPM industry promises many bright prospects, that would in turn help to produce the requisite talent to drive the industry forward to generate much needed foreign revenue for the country.
Left to right – Ashique Ali, Chairman-SLASSCOM, Madu Ratnayake, Chair-NFTI steering committee; and Arjuna Nanayakkara, steering committee member-NFTI addressing the gathering.