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Automation Triggers Zomato’s Layoff; Is Upskilling the Need of the Hour?

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Automation is making a number of jobs redundant in recent times, the latest case in point is Zomato, the popular restaurant aggregator and food delivery start-up, which has laid off over 600 employees at its head office in Gurugram. Zomato’s firing of its employees reinvigorated the whole debate if automation is going to kill the jobs and spell unemployment. It also brings to light why upskilling is the way to go in order to stay relevant at a time when automation is sweeping across every industry.

Over the last two months, Zomato has laid off 600 employees across its customer, merchant and delivery partner support teams. As per the company officials, the reason behind this layoff was the significant enhancement of their technology products and platforms. This enhancement has lowered down the support-related queries by 50%, making several roles redundant and consequently, leading to layoffs. The company is expanding rapidly and is trying to optimize its costing by introducing automation.

This incident has stirred the debate in the market again, if automation is going to be the friend to the human civilization or play the role of a villain by snatching the sources of earning bread and butter. Worth considering is the fact that while on the one hand, Zomato announced layoffs, on the other hand, it also announced that it is looking for employees with specialized skills.

Is Automation a friend or a foe?

Many may consider the layoff step under the veil of cost-cutting. However, that may not be the truth as the company has reportedly hired 1,200 people in its non-delivery teams and another 400 off-rolls position. It has the plan of marking 10x growth in the next 5 years. Hence, the layoffs are clearly not the mark of tough times for the company. What can be deduced from this situation is probably the smart use of technology. If a business can make profit with the deployment of automation, it is certainly not going to give it a second thought.With the constant innovation and adoption of automation, AI and bots, it is becoming easier to solve customer queries.

There is no doubt that deployment of automation and AI-led processes is going to make traditional jobs get vanished. However, as companies are keen on developing technologies, they are on a constant look out of the resources with right skill set which can go hand-in-hand with the evolving technologies. Hence, the answer to the bigger question is- upskilling.

Training on areas such as AI and machine learning, big data and cyber security as well as newer tools and platforms is becoming the need of the hour. It is is the only way to make optimum use of automation. In the coming years, the pressure of automation is only going to increase if the reskilling is not done now.

Lessons for CXOs

Zomato may only be a case in point but automation is here to stay and the fact that companies are actively looking for resources with technical expertise establishes the need of upskilling more firmly.

According to a research by PwC, 79% CEOs worldwide are concerned that a lack of essential skills in their workforce is threatening the future growth of their organisation. Hence, time and again, it is observed that upskilling and reskilling has to become the most crucial agenda for the CXOs. They, being the decision makers for the organizations, hold the onus of carving out programs for their workforce, which could help them battle with the changing times and allow them to make the most out of the evolving technologies.

As Sundar Nagarathnam, Senior Vice President, Automation Anywhere, states in his blog. “We believe that investing in retraining and upskilling today’s professionals is an urgent business priority, and it is imperative to prepare the next generation workforce for the future.”

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