India as a Digital Talent Nation 

05 12月 2022

Government Steps to make India as a ‘Digital Talent Nation’ 


FY2022 has been a spectacular year of India’s technology industry; it recorded a 15.5% growth (highest ever) to reach US$ 227 billion in revenue. A combination of Digital and Innovation was the industry’s winning formula. Another landmark that the industry achieved was to cross 5 million in total direct workforce. The industry’s “people first employee-centric” approach saw tech firms quickly adapt to hybrid work models and scale up the industry’s digital capacity/capability building programs.

Today, the share of digital to total revenue stands at 30-32% with 1 in 3 employees being digitally skilled stamping India’s position as the Global Digital Talent Nation. These factors have pushed India’s share in global sourcing market to 59% - a testament to India’s new tech value proposition.

Despite rising adoption of digital technologies and the IT industry, India’s digital divide is deep and is creating economic disparities between those who can afford technology and those who cannot, thereby affecting the country’s overall digital growth.

To bridge this divide, in July 2015, the Indian government launched the ‘Digital India’ initiative, covering various programmes such as e-governance, secure and stable digital infrastructure, improve online infrastructure, increase internet accessibility, mobile e-health services and digital finance for digital inclusiveness. Through these programmes, the ‘Digital India’ initiative is enabling the country (including small towns and rural areas) to develop its internet infrastructure.

Further, the country’s low mobile data rates have allowed a vast population to access the Internet. The rising use of unified payments interface (UPIs) strongly indicate that more and more people in India are adopting a digital lifestyle. Moreover, the number of transactions being processed via UPIs reaching 2.73 billion (>2x) in March 2021, up from 1.25 billion in March 2020, highlights that the government's ‘Digital India’ initiative has helped the country achieve significant digital progress.

The government’s increased focus to create a digitally empowered economy is forecast to benefit all industries, wherein core digital sectors such as information technology & business process management, digital communication services and electronics manufacturing are likely to double their GDPs to US$ 355-435 billion by 2025.


‘War for Digital Talent’


In today’s world, companies and countries are fighting the war on talent, whoever has the right talent, wins the war. By taking this huge step, the Government of India has shown a very serious commitment on digital talent development. The vision is to ensure that when the world thinks Digital, the world will think of India, and this important step forward will strengthen India’s focus on Digital Talent Development. National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) is working hand in hand with Government to make Digital Talent, one of India’s key competitive advantages and establish India as “The Hub for Digital Talent”, globally. 

FutureSkills Prime, a platform under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and NASSCOM, has launched a digital upskilling incentives programme. It is an end-to-end re-skilling or up-skilling portal to foster innovation and talent in the country. The dynamic, AI-enabled platform will respond to the rapidly changing needs of the market. The platform will focus on bridging the talent gap at the entry-level and train India’s existing workforce in emerging technologies.


How to Attract and Retain Digital Talent in India


What is Digital Talent? 


Digital talents are not defined by age, profession, gender, location etc. Traditional career paths are being moulded to create new roles that require individuals to have a healthy mix of technical skills and business acumen e.g. Digital Marketer, Social Media Strategist, Data Scientist etc. They need to understand the reasons behind the actions, not just know how to use technology. "Digital Talent" is an evolved professional who is equally comfortable with technology and business. 


Talent and Workforce Insights: Tech Skills are Changing Rapidly!


Talent Market Overview

Over the last few years, talent has become the key topic of discussion for Industry Leaders. The need to attract and build a digital capability is one of the key challenges for all leaders and HR professionals. It is not just about a widening gap between the demand for and supply of digital talent, but the cost of not having the right talent at the right time. Rising attrition and a shortage of talent is a global phenomenon.

Value drivers and focus areas are shifting from a “Traditional” to a“Digital” mindset.


  Traditional Digital
Strategy Efficiency Innovation
Culture Hierarchy Collaboration
Talent Low cost High Skill
Technology Legacy Cloud, Mobile, Apps
Project Management Waterfall Iterative (Agile)
Business Model Service & Support Relationship & Partner



Necessary Steps for Digital Talent Strategy


The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of enterprises, creating enormous opportunities for all organizations. This sudden acceleration in demand has led to a war for digital talent. Despite the challenges to close the digital talent gap, there are many tried and tested ways can help to attract and retain top digital talent. To bring in a digital culture, organizations not only need people with digital skills but employees with varied skill sets who can think innovatively and adapt instantly. Gen Z and millennials are digital natives, and in order to attract and retain them, it is imperative that organizations rapidly transform internally and accelerate their digital adoption. 

To deal with these talent wars, companies are adopting following multipronged approaches:

  • Talent attraction is a key strategy always, use the effective 4C approach to attract talent; career, communication, celerity, and compensation. Set up well-defined career paths, communicate the role and expectations clearly, ensure your ‘time to hire’ is optimized, and offer a compelling compensation. 
  • A differentiated rewards approach for critical digital talent, one that balances market competitiveness, fair pay principles and cost optimization.
  • Shift toward skills-based rewards, resulting in more relevant and differentiated offerings such as enhanced learning and development opportunities to ensure digital talent can remain competitive in a fast-changing world.
  • Flexibility as key lever for sourcing, attracting and retaining the digital talent.
  • Enhance up-skilling and re-skilling programmes through online learning. To address skill gaps due to rapidly changing technologies, frequently reskill employees to adapt to changing business needs. Upskilling employees is essential to help them stay relevant and continuous learning also helps with employee retention.
  • Leveraging tier-II and tier-III talent hiring and re-skilling them to access the larger talent pool. Remote working has enabled organizations to hire the best talent not just from anywhere in the world, but also from a broader and more diverse talent pool.
  • Crowdsourcing - the future of work, need to look beyond in-house resources to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Through crowdsourcing platform, able to tap into a larger subset of people with varied skill sets, and this has exposed to a whole new set of ideas and perspectives.
  • Stepping up fresh hiring so that the supply pool increases, focusing on fresh non-tech talent and training them with required skills
  • Collaboration for speed and efficiencies of communication are critical to digital talent. As we still feel the effects of Covid-19, we can bring in a collaborative experience virtually by finding a collaboration platform that works for the company. Most collaboration platforms allow that instant experience, allow teams to stay connected, enhance productivity and achieve a semblance of normalcy. 
  • Hyper-automate to keep employees engaged, agility and speed are the cornerstones of disruption. It’s time to break free from conventional, rigid structures and become more fluid if want to attract top digital talent. 
  • Conduct ‘stay interviews’ to prevent attrition, a step ahead of exit interviews, stay interviews follow a proactive rather than reactive approach; to let key talented individuals know that the company appreciates and values them. 
  • Digitize the entire employee life cycle: from hire to retire, employer branding starts from the time of hiring people, the experience has to be world-class to make good first impressions that last a lifetime. The entire employee life cycle should be digital, from onboarding to training to measuring productivity, until the employee either resigns or retires. Just as onboarding is critical to employer branding, employees that are resigning should be treated with equal care. The entire exit procedure should be hassle-free; an ex-employee treated well can be a loyal, lifelong brand ambassador. 
  • Encourage employee reviews, the workplace experience has become a make-or-break factor for potential job applicants, especially with demand outstripping supply. This helps if current or past employees are ambassadors as an employer through effective employee engagement. Positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, etc., can do a lot to persuade or dissuade job prospects.
  • Offer a holistic employment experience to employee, one that spans career development, learning and wellness.
  • Create micro-engagement for employees, personalized engagement activities that relate to the employee  


All of these developments are steps in the right direction, but organizations should keep in mind that digital professionals are highly aware of their market value and the criticality of their contributions to the business. With remote working on the rise and possibly becoming permanent in many organizations, it is crucial for leadership to invest time and effort in having a holistic understanding of the digital strategy and ensuring its successful implementation throughout the value chain. 

India is not only looking at strategies aimed at increasing home-grown talent, but also working on attracting the best global talent to catalyse the next decade of growth and innovation. This requires constant investments in re-skilling and embracing a culture that promotes skill development. Creating a robust digital talent ecosystem would further enable India to be future- ready and leverage the opportunities of a digital future.



  • National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) (Technology Sector in India 2022 : Strategic Review | NASSCOM)
  • India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF)
  • National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) (India as a Digital Talent Nation | NASSCOM Strategic Review Report 2022 - YouTube)
  • Mercer Mettl Survey: Closing the Skill gap – Recruit or Reskill 
  • Mercer’s 2022 Global Talent Trend Study 
  • Mercer High-tech & SSO Industry Overview


Shalini Sharma