Non-IT Firms Hunt for Tech Talent to Back Digital Push

Cos in manufacturing, retail, banking, financial services developing cutting-edge tech

Mumbai/New Delhi – Old economy companies are stepping up hiring of technology professionals as demand for tech savvy and digital talent grows in an otherwise slow job market. Manufacturing, retail, banking and Financial services firms are developing cutting-edge technologies, which require tech talent, said HR heads. Companies including Vedanta, Tata Steel, RPG, Philips, Schneider Electric, Whirlpool and Dabur are investing heavily in digital technology to improve productivity and efficiency. “We hire tech professionals because it makes business sense. It saves us man hours, reduces down-time and risk, which directly affect the bottom line”, said Madhu Srivastava, group Chief Human Resource officer at diversified miner Vedanta.

The Anil Agarwal-led natural resources firm, which is thinking of implementing blockchain technology for purchasing and sourcing artificial intelligence-enabled exploration and unmanned surveillance systems – is hiring talent in smart manufacturing, industrial cyber security, digital capital management projects and other functional digital projects including exploration. Digital is getting embedded in every function, including manufacturing, marketing, research and development, and human resources and there is widespread demand for professionals for every domain, said R Suresh, founder of executive search consultancy Insist. Tech Check Sectors Hiring Tech Talent: Manufacturing, Retail, Banking and Financial Services Cos Investing in Digital Tech: Vedanta, Tata Steel, RPC, Philips, Schneider Electric, Whirlpool, Dabur Their focus is on improving productivity & efficiency, save costs

The RPG group, which started its digital journey by hiring a chief digital officer for tyremaker Ceat and its construction engineering subsidiary KEC International a couple of years ago, has hired data analysts, data scientists and AI professionals, said group HR head S Venkatesh. Tata Steel, on the other hand, is hiring fresh technology graduates. The country’s largest private steel maker, which is targeting to become one of the top five technologically advanced global steel companies, has new and emerging tech roles in the areas of new material business (graphene and fibre reinforced polymer), digital technologies for process improvements – industrial internet of things, sensorisation, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, cloud computing, data science, chatbots and robotic process automation.

The tech hiring outlook in non-IT companies has increased by 4 percentage points to more than 17% in April-September this year compared to the same period last year, according to a recent survey by IT solutions provider Experis, which is part of Manpower Group India. Global electronics major Philips, which is currently focused on healthcare and lighting, has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of tech hires across sectors in India. “Tech talent forms a crucial part of our workforce mix as we seek to digitise the health and personal care segments”, said Armaan Seth, head – HR, Philips Indian Subcontinent. In 2019, Philips is estimated to hire more than 800 people, including software engineers and R&D staff, compared to last year.

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, is doubling its tech talent hiring in India, said Runita Verma, director HR, Schneider Electric India. Fast moving consumer goods company Dabur India is focusing on hiring tech talent in functions as diverse as manufacturing, marketing, sales, supply chain and HR. “As we adopt more technology-in-tense manufacturing systems, our hiring choices have shifted to people who have greater exposure to electronics, instrumentation and mechatronics”, said Dabur India Executive Director HR, V Krishnan. Home appliances manufacturer Whirlpool needs technical talent to drive innovation and support its product leadership initiatives. “Last year, we added 320 (15 %) people and this year, the projected numbers are similar. Majority of the talent is involved in R&D and product development. A portion of the talent is involved in operations (manufacturing and procurement)”, said Sarthak Raychaudhuri, vice president-HR, Asia at Whirlpool Corp.

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