The tier 2/3 towns are rising in the talent pool of India with a rising number of young engineers from these locations acquiring modern, high-in-demand tech skills such as Gen AI, Machine Learning, data science, cloud computing, Fullstack, EV design that is making them more competitive in a job market that is turning more volatile and tighter with time, The Economic Times has reported. The data has been gleaned from edtech platform Great Learning which detected higher enrolments from Tiruchirappalli, Mysuru, Kottathur, Madurai, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Lucknow, Indore and Bhubaneswar. Students from these cities have 42-44% of the total enrolments in 2023 compared to 30-32% even just a couple of years ago. Upgrad has found out a 50%+ quarter-on-quarter leap in enrolments from freshers coming out of non-metros in the July-September quarter compared to the April-June quarter said the report. The rising numbers from these cities are making the job market more adverse since freshers are already having difficulty in getting jobs since most of the IT majors are staying away from campus recruitments this year due to the economic slowdown in the developed markets in the west and lower tech spending. “There is a conscious effort by freshers in Tier 2 and 3 cities to acquire the latest skills to excel in a competitive job market as the selection process for entry-level talent is becoming more and more stringent in a tough job market,” said Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder of Great Learning. Mayank Kumar, co-founder of upGrad concurred. “Many in the smaller towns do not have access to quality higher education infrastructure. In many cases, the college curriculum is also not up to date. This is prompting many young engineers and graduates to learn skills that could give the relevant proficiency that many employers are looking for,” said Kumar. They are also spending a lot to pick up skills. Youngsters are ready to shell out anywhere between Rs 1-4 lakh to learn niche tech skills. At another level, the higher demand from smaller towns also reflects the increased access to upskilling through remote learning. “People sitting in tier 2/3 places now have the option to take a course in coding, Gen AI or any other new age skill without having to move to cities, which was not the case even a few years ago. The smaller towns also have a lot of disposable income and are willing to make that investment,” said Shiv Agarwal, MD, ABC Consultants. However, the rise in the number of applications is also resulting in many companies hiring more from tier 2 and 3 towns. This, in turn, is also encouraging candidates to enroll for skill imparting courses. “Earlier many engineers in IT services companies would reskill themselves at their own expense as job-related growth was otherwise impossible in a rapidly changing tech ecosystem. Reskilling on their own is the only way to get a job because every company today prefers readily deployable talent,” said Deloitte India partner Anandorup Ghose. Ironically, there is another indicator of the rising skill gap: it is the number of unemployed engineers. “What is being taught in many of these technology and engineering colleges is not adequate. There is a huge gap in skills that still remains. That is what is driving this trend,” remarked Amitabh Jhingan, partner, EY Parthenon.
Download Money9 App for the latest updates on Personal Finance.