Development and requalification for lateral and mid-career changes | Explain

A chance encounter with a long-lost friend provided an interesting but lesser-known demand in the job market. As a metallurgical engineer working for a well-established Indian conglomerate (of course, in the metals business), he was pushing close to 40 but was stuck in a job that didn’t offer much money, growth or security. His current salary of Rs 12 lakh a year was simply not enough to get by, especially in a big city. And hardly a week goes by that I don’t hear about women who have had to give up their thriving careers to start families but face significant headwinds when it comes to getting back to work after a few years.

Either way, the challenge is real and quite serious. However, there is a common silver lining for both. With a little initial investment in upskilling/reskilling programs, a career rebound in the digital economy can be quick and effective.

The metallurgical engineer is ready to explore the possibility of restarting his career as a data scientist by investing three months’ salary in a one-year DS training which will allow him to obtain a new job for the same salary as the current one, but also to render his experience of the last 12 years in the metals sector quite useless.

He believes that is not too high a price to pay as long as its long-term growth is secured for the foreseeable future. The same can be said of women who are serious about re-launching their careers after a long break.


But there is a more significant point here. According to government estimates, India’s digital economy is expected to reach the $1 trillion mark in the next four years (by the end of FY26) and support 60-65 million jobs.

But to get closer to such predictions, we would also have to do a lot more. Take the case of the metallurgical engineer who is looking to relaunch his career. His willingness to take risks and the wealth of his knowledge about this current company should be good reasons to requalify him for their digital shift.

But unfortunately, he is likely to quit his current job and move on to a more secure career at a big-name start-up or IT company.

Now consider the case of women who want to relaunch their careers after maternity and parental breaks. Appealing to more women to board the digital train is not yet effectively addressed. The conversation here needs to go beyond gender diversity in the workplace, from an equity perspective to a business case perspective.

For example, large e-commerce and ride-sharing companies see great value in retaining a diverse workforce, especially in areas such as product engineering, user experience, and more.

This directly affects their business as women between the ages of 30 and 45 make up a considerable portion of their customer base. Who better to create products and services for female customers than female engineers and developers?


The post-covid job market may pose new challenges, but the rewiring that followed the two-year period of uncertainty and confusion has also ushered in some long-awaited changes to the way we learn, train and work.

But among the new possibilities it has given us is our ability to provide sustainable career opportunities to accommodate outliers, including lateral and mid-career changes. This door is now wide open without any unreasonable barrier of entry.

— ENDS —

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