Here, Sreekanth K Arimanithaya, Global Talent and Enablement Services Leader, EY Global Delivery Services explores the evolution of India’s Global Capability Centres (GCCs) and the pivotal role of talent and technology in their transformation.
The genesis of GCC stems from the days when organisations started increasing their global footprint and creating a truly international workforce. It brought in many benefits, including cost arbitrage centers that later assumed the form of a global value organization. Over the years, the leap in business – and scope – of GCCs has been tremendous. And India has been at the front and center of this trend, where we continue to see several industries setting up GCCs in the country.
What has triggered this trend? And importantly, where does the question of talent fit into all this? A couple of decades ago, GCCs primarily focused on IT helpdesk and customer support. Today, they are centered on emerging technologies and innovation, with shifts in talent demographics and skills, reflecting these changes.
The adoption of advanced technologies by GCCs, including cloud computing and artificial intelligence, is fueling a symbiotic relationship with their home offices for innovative product development and platform upgrades. Consequently, there’s a surge in demand for adept talent in cutting-edge tech, analytics, and digital domains. Let’s delve into the driving factors behind GCCs’ success and the future of talent in this ecosystem.
Nurturing talent through skilling
According to a report published by McKinsey, profit per employee equals total revenue divided by the cost per employee. This is a very valid measure of how we utilise our most valuable resources. In today’s volatile market, effective utilisation of resources is key. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), there is an upward trend in employment in India due to our country’s employable population.
Last year alone, millions of people entered the workforce, a trend largely enabled by the opportunities available. Today, organisations fully understand the value of upskilling, reskilling, and cross-skilling and how it can translate to better people supply chain management. Organisations gain from a skilled workforce, while individuals, through upskilling, secure their career longevity, creating a symbiotic benefit.
Technological proliferation, access to education and skilling has played a pivotal role in connecting India. People now have access to intelligent systems, and the mass adoption of new technology is giving rise to research and development capabilities – and consequently talent. India is home to 50-70% global technology and operations headcount and India-based GCCs are investing heavily in cloud, IoT, and AI. The rise of Generative AI promises increased innovation and disruption, offering significant opportunities for talent in various organisations.
“As GCCs pivot towards enhancing enterprise capabilities, the scarcity of niche tech skills in these cities is evident. To counteract, many organisations are now establishing R&D centers and innovation labs in India, leveraging the vast and varied talent pool across both Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities. Government and private entities, as well as NGOs, have collaborated to equip young talent with industry-relevant skills. Corporates are notably assisting students from Tier-2 and Tier-3 colleges. Significant examples include the collaboration between EY GDS, TASK, and Edunet Foundation in Telangana, and the Vyanashala program in Kerala, which educates rural communities about opportunities in the digital economy.”
Tech-enabled skills transformation
As per a NASSCOM estimate, India has around 1,580 GCC tech centres – and the number is rising. While technology has evolved GCCs into strategic partners beyond just back-office roles, it’s led to talent shortages in Tier-1 cities. As GCCs pivot towards enhancing enterprise capabilities, the scarcity of niche tech skills in these cities is evident. To counteract, many organisations are now establishing R&D centers and innovation labs in India, leveraging the vast and varied talent pool across both Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities.
Government and private entities, as well as NGOs, have collaborated to equip young talent with industry-relevant skills. Corporates are notably assisting students from Tier-2 and Tier-3 colleges. Significant examples include the collaboration between EY GDS, TASK, and Edunet Foundation in Telangana, and the Vyanashala program in Kerala, which educates rural communities about opportunities in the digital economy.
Democratisation of talent
While historically talent sourcing focused on major cities, the evolving digital landscape in India has decentralised tech hubs, widening talent opportunities. The shift to hybrid work models and the empowerment of the gig workforce have reshaped how employees view their careers. India’s tech-driven talent evolution makes it appealing to global companies. To maintain this position, enhanced public-private collaboration is crucial to harness untapped talent, addressing issues like underemployment.
As GCCs expand, continued investment in learning and partnerships with educational entities are vital, and the way I see it, this is a win-win for all parties.
About the author: Sreekanth K Arimanithaya boasts 30 years of extensive experience spanning HR, business transformation, and technology leadership across various sectors. Passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, he plays a significant role in EY’s Global Diversity and Inclusiveness Steering Committee.
Year of Incorporation: 2002
Number of Employees: Over 65K
Srinivas Rao (Global Vice-Chair)
Arun Batra (Client Services Leader)
Sreekanth Arimanithaya (Global Talent & Enablement Services Leader)
Mukul Pachisia (Global Operations Leader)
Business Line: Professional Shared Services
Key HR Factors:
-The EY Tech MBA, offered in association with Hult International Business School, is the first-ever fully accredited corporate MBA that is available regardless of role or position and entirely for free to all of our nearly 300,000 employees in over 150 countries.
-EY Global Delivery Services has 8 Tech MBA grads and around 20 in the pipeline
-EY has introduced three Masters Programs – Tech MBA, MBAN and Masters in Sustainability.
-EY Gig Knowledge Credentials is dedicated to our direct gig workforce in GDS India, much like EY Badges for our full-time employees
-EY Badges, offers an opportunity for EY people to earn digital badges for future-focused skills such as data visualization, data science and artificial intelligence (AI) and for skills like transformational leadership or inclusive intelligence. Currently, EY GDS has over 1,10,000 EY Badges.
-EY Wellbeing Program offers our people a holistic range of tools, information and resources to help them look after their mental, physical, social and financial health. Our ‘Employee Assistance Program’ (EAP) aims to enhance the emotional, mental and general psychological well-being of EY people.
-EY in India has set up the Neurodiversity Center of Excellence in India
-EY Purple Champions network helps drive the disability confidence agenda. The allies are coached to raise awareness about the experiences of persons with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities.