Planning to hire talent from women-only tech institutes: Padmaja Alaganandan, chief people officer, PwC India

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  • July 27, 2019
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PwC-PwC, India plans to hire talent from women-only technology institutes. According to chief people officer Padmaja Alaganandan, while the firm continues to focus on quality talent when hiring, it is making efforts to ensure that the pool being considered for hiring has sufficient representation of women. “Many engineering colleges, unfortunately, have a high proportion of male students, and therefore, we’ve considered reputed women engineering institutes in our campus hiring plan,” Alaganandan said. Edited excerpts from an interaction with ET:

What are the new focus areas in terms of hiring and growing talent?
We are focusing on skill sets in areas that are core to strategy – while high-quality engineering and management professionals will continue to be core to a lot of our talent acquisition, there is a growing need for talent from diverse professional backgrounds. We are increasingly bringing in psychologists, urban planners, environmentalists, social scientists, former defence personnel, journalists, former start-up founders or designers for our overall design thinking approach to problem-solving and we will see this trend grow. We are also investing in building talent with specialised and deep skills in areas such as cyber security, advanced artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotic process automation, etc.

What skills are in demand now?
Hiring talent that helps us be ‘fit for future’- The business ecosystem is evolving and we are constantly working towards making ourselves and our clients fit-for-future. Digital acumen, high learnability, strong analytical skills, and the ability to connect the dots are traits that are increasingly becoming important. Given the dynamic nature of our business, we need our talent to be able to learn new skills and be fungible across our businesses.

What are the big challenges in terms of talent?
In a vibrant talent economy such as India, keeping talent relevant is increasingly becoming a challenge. With the evolving business ecosystem, employees would need to be reskilled and they should take up roles different from what they’ve been doing.

How are you ensuring that?
Though the onus of reskilling may be on the employee, we take a lot of steps to facilitate this through our learning programs and role mobility initiatives. We’ve been on this journey to reskill and upskill our people, across all levels. In fact, some of our programmes on digital acumen begin at the leadership level.

Our programme The PwC Professional also provides a framework for our people to upskill themselves across dimensions – technical capability, global acumen, business acumen, relationships and whole leadership. This framework is the foundation of all our talent acquisition and development programmes, including our leaders. We are focused on building future leaders and the fact that 30% of our partners in India are millennials is a testament to that.