Why 5G is a boon for telecom job industry

Set to bring massive changes to every industry, 5G will heavily impact the workforce landscape as well. A study indicates that 5G is set to support 22.8 million jobs.
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5G is the poster technology of the communication world. It is supposed to be 100 times faster than its predecessor. A technology that will download movies in seconds, bring virtual reality closer to reality, and nurture millions of smart devices.

However, I believe it would be fairly disappointing if 5G does not leave a much bigger impact than that. It has the potential to be the thread the connected world of the future hangs on to.

5G is set to bring massive changes to every industry. Needless to say, it would heavily impact the workforce landscape as well. A study indicates 5G is set to support 22.8 million jobs, which is quite a significant number. Moreover, increased automation, accessibility and speed will see greater efficiencies, richer collaborations and real-time decision making.

5G will bring more telecom jobs than its predecessors

Let’s do away with the assumption that 5G will kill jobs. I believe it will create more jobs than any of its predecessors. Especially in India, which currently holds high-end capabilities to create a 5G ecosystem for the world.

The recent 12,000+ crore boost from the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme by the government will go a long way in creating hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities in manufacturing, including telecom manufacturing.

Moreover, the sheer deployment of 5G networks will need millions of skilled and semi-skilled professionals across the country. This will lead to the introduction of a large set of roles. And this is just scratching the surface.

The adoption of 5G will have a ripple effect across industries that will require people from all verticals.

Upskilling will be the way to go

5G is just not faster than 4G. It has a layer of high-powered, ubiquitous and cheap computing atop the connectivity layer. Therefore, 5G will require a new network architecture that is open source, virtualised and disaggregated.

To build and maintain such architecture, telecom sector will require their engineers, developers, researchers, architects, marketers, and even leaders to upskill.

Skills across domains such as application platforms, cloud, database intelligence, cybersecurity, programming, and system software will become more crucial than before. The internal upskilling programs will also have to be largely focused on 5G and its use cases.

An example of that would be STL’s 5G empower programme that aims to train one lakh women on 5G for free. We will also see the rise in demand for professionals with heterogeneous skillsets that cut across the hardware and software layers of the 5G networks.

Diversity and inclusion will find new meaning

Imagine network engineers working remotely from Akola (Maharashtra) and Udaipur (Rajasthan) using holograms, augmented reality, and algorithmic tools to design a network for Hyderabad. This can happen in a 5G era.

By making technology the common denominator, 5G has a potential to pave the way for diversity and inclusion like never before. Collaboration tools will be richer than ever thanks to the speed and ubiquitous connectivity that 5G offers.

It is already expected that one-third of India’s workforce will work remotely by 2022. I expect that number to go up once 5G expands in the country. Companies will be able to extract top talents from all parts of the country, expanding their talent pool.

The country’s rural workforce will also find larger employment as 5G transcends boundaries. 5G will further open the doors for women, people from different ethnicities and people with special abilities/disabilities to find their dream jobs without stepping out of their homes.

Businesses will successfully be able to integrate talents irrespective of genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, or pin codes into their existing employee culture.

New ways of working will emerge

As 5G will pave the way for a more flexible workplace, companies will also be adapting the policies with the new way of working. The ubiquitous connectivity and high speeds will supercharge business operations, leading to higher productivity and smarter ways of working.

We will find more flexible time off policies, benefit packages (e.g. upskilling allowance), and working hours aligned to the workplace and role demands. There will be more emphasis on facilitating collaboration and employee engagement through sophisticated technology tools.

Innovation and agility will play an even more important role for a business. It will be embracing agile business practices and pursuing new initiatives according to the environment and customer experiences. A continual process of optimisation, adjustment and openness to change will be followed.

Time is right for workplaces to prepare for 5G

With 5G closer to becoming a reality, the time is right for workplaces to become ready for it. Long term strategy is required to not only prepare for 5G, but leverage it to increase productivity and create first-mover advantages.

This can be done in following ways:

  • Overhaul your IT systems to deal with increased data and also leverage it for real-time decision making
  • Strengthen the security posture of your company to deal with threats that would come with 5G
  • Train your employees about 5G for them to adapt and adopt the technology quickly

5G is a boon for the telecom sector. With the right policies and right workforce, the telecom sector will be able to ride this wave and enable tremendous socio-economic benefits for the country.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)