December is a time for reflection.
As 2022 draws to a close, India can say that it stayed afloat during the pandemic as restrictions eased and more employees returned to offices.
India’s economy stood out for its resilience with sectors like manufacturing and services contributing to a robust workforce. The emergence of moonlighting — when workers pick up a side gig — kept people talking across India Inc this year while India’s first private rocket launch welcomed new players to the space race.
However, there were several roadblocks in the path. The rupee’s depreciation, threats of a global recession, and geopolitical tensions were significant challenges during 2022.
That said, what can we expect for the coming year?
Every December, LinkedIn editors ask our community of Top Voices and creators to share the Big Ideas they believe will define the year ahead. This year, as we face challenges along several fronts, we offer a selection of thoughts on where professionals go from here — at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
This is by no means a complete list, and we invite you to join us! What Big Ideas do you think will emerge in 2023?
1. A global recession is likely – and India may be dented, not downed
“Long and ugly” — that’s what the impending global recession will look and feel like, according to noted economist ‘Dr. Doom’ Nouriel Roubini. Institutions like the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation have sounded the alarm bells too. “The worst is yet to come,” the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently declared.
In a highly globalized world, India cannot escape unscathed as countries around it witness a slowdown. But economists here are not painting a doomsday picture yet.
While India will feel the ripples of a global slowdown, there are several factors that will help lessen the blow, they say. The IMF too has predicted a 6% growth for India, higher than the U.S., China, and Europe combined.
“Healthy corporate balance sheets thanks to deleveraging and healthy bank balance sheets due to low non-performing assets — these will drive India’s growth over its peers,” says Dipti Salétore – Deshpande, Principal Economist at CRISIL Ratings. India’s forex reserves, albeit rapidly shrinking, have helped as well. “The forex reserves that India has accumulated in the last few months has helped cushion our economy against adverse effects,” says Rajani Sinha, Chief Economist at CareEdge.
So, what must be done to further insulate the country?
2. Technology will make (and break) job opportunities
Single-page resume or make it two? Are cover letters important? How to craft an ATS-friendly resume? Resume objective summary, a passé? As job seekers ponder how to stand out, the job application process is changing, and technology has a big part to play.
Picture this: you are chosen for a job interview and told it will be virtual. You pick the right outfit, check your internet connection and lighting, and your work setup also seems alright. But there’s a glitch. Expecting an interviewer to make an appearance, you find out that you are being interviewed by a computer. This is already a reality in another part of the world: The students at Sandwell College in England were asked to do mock interviews using VR headsets.
Another technology in the works is a blockchain network that will be able to validate resumes and enable job seekers, as well as employers, to manage and access accurate career credentials. Forged documents, including fake resumes and experience letters, have been doing quite the rounds as Accenture and Cognizant recently fired employees involved in the said practices.
Combatting time-consuming processes and high costs associated with background checks, the Velocity Network “…will offer a safe and secure way to credential our talents, store them in a career wallet, and share them with (future) employers with a single push,” shares Ishita Bandyopadhyay, Managing Director – Assessment Solutions, Aon.
Chatbot screening is another practice that streamlines the process by interviewing candidates based on their competencies and skills, shares Parag Ghatpande, Aon’s Assessment Solutions Director. — Dipal Desai
3. Metaverse, artificial intelligence and virtual reality will reshape education
Imagine visiting a historical monument, an ancient civilisation or learning about the earth’s topography in the metaverse. India’s education sector is riding on the wave of digital transformation the pandemic propelled it into, and it will transform learning and teaching as we know it.
To make content immersive and interactive, edtech companies are introducing learning modules that use 3D assets and virtual and augmented reality. Educational institutes are jumping on board, too, and India’s Central Board of Secondary Education late last year collaborated with Meta to explore applications of metaverse in education and training.
While this new virtual landscape will reshape education, overcoming challenges related to digital divides, biases, privacy, and cyber safety will become paramount. Other obstacles include access to economical wearables devices so people can experience concepts in a truly immersive manner and not just a browser-led experience, along with our own promptness in adapting to this new wave, adds Sharma. — Isha Chitnis
4. Shift in cultural mindset will propel a change in workplace practices
It could’ve started with getting high ranks in schools and colleges, only to continue running on the treadmill to beat peers to get a job, secure a highly sought after promotion, and make it to the manager’s good books. How often have you faced or witnessed competition, particularly in the workplace? This cultural mindset is set to go through a complete shift, urging corporations to establish healthy workplace practices.
To battle burnout, Shivakumar believes measuring output over input is crucial. He adds that identifying a team talent as a whole will be more important than an individual’s talent. Healthier workplaces will exist when every employee’s purpose is aligned with that of the company’s, shares Games2win CEO Alok Kejriwal. — Dipal Desai
5. Money will rush into women’s sports
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s decision to pay the same match fees to both men and women cricketers, and the Women’s Indian Premier League (WIPL) in 2023 marks a significant chapter in Indian sports.
Mithali R., former captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, says, “The BCCI’s moves will inspire many more youngsters to take up the game without them worrying about its financial viability. The opportunities for making a career in women’s cricket as a player, as a part of the administration, or in a broadcasting team shall increase multifold.”
But not only cricket, brands and sponsors are putting their financial heft behind outstanding women athletes across disciplines. This shift has been in the works for a few years, but the exceptional performance of Indian women athletes at the Commonwealth Games this year put it in overdrive. PV Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu, Nikhat Zareen, and Sakshi Malik are now household names in India.
Paul R., in charge of partnerships and business development at Nimida Sports, says, “Brands are always keen on showcasing real athletes rather than models as their ambassadors.”
6. We’ll witness the first ransomware war
In the last three years, seven in 10 businesses in India have been victims of ransomware attacks, with the first half of 2022 seeing a 51% year-on-year increase. But these sporadic and isolated bursts will transform into a barrage in 2023 with cyber terrorists declaring an all-out war.
How will this war affect India’s companies? “There will be a huge compromise of personally identifiable information and protected health information data, leading to reputational, financial, and legal losses,” says Sanket Sarkar, co-founder of ZERON, a cyber security posture management platform.
And the number of people affected would be huge as India has around 692 million active internet users, according to a report by IAMAI-Kantar. Sensitive data across sectors like IT, healthcare, BFSI, and even the government would threaten individual privacy and pose a significant risk to national security.
“A data breach will make it difficult to not just retain existing clients and customers but will also discourage others from doing business or partnering with your organisation in future,” says tech content creator Shivam Patle.
As in any invasion, drawing up the right defence will be key here as well. It will comprise tougher legislation, greater awareness, and ethical hackers. “Ethical hackers can be used to simulate ransomware attacks in the organisation to better understand the cybersecurity posture and identify gaps”, says Sarkar. Patle adds that a policy of zero trust and multifactor authentication will prove to be reliable cyber shields.
7. Blockchain will make citizen services more efficient and transparent
India’s digital rupee is backed by this technology. The education sector is issuing tamper-evident digital diplomas anchored on it. Law enforcement is realising its potential for crime reporting that cannot be manipulated. Blockchain is everywhere, and its role in our everyday lives is only getting bigger.
“In financial services, remittances could be powered by blockchains, so would invoices and invoice discounting. Our health records could also go on blockchains, making our healthcare more efficient. Blockchain-based do-not-disturb registries could help us cut spam calls. All this would help in efficiency, privacy and security of citizens and users,” says author and Founder of The Tech Whisperer Ltd Jaspreet Bindra.
One of blockchain’s most famous use cases in India today is The Reserve Bank of India’s digital rupee, which it says will be beneficial in remote areas with electricity and network constraints. Experts say this blockchain-powered has the potential to fuel inclusion and bring transparency and efficiency to the payments space.
The Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development issued nearly 1,00,000 verifiable, tamper-evident digital diplomas anchored on Polygon earlier this year, providing better data security and transparency than regular online certificates. Experts believe blockchain will bring more trust and transparency to the real estate space, too – through immutable records and certificates.
In India’s first-of-its-kind use case in crime reporting, the citizens in Uttar Pradesh’s Firozabad can now file immutable First Information Reports on India’s first blockchain-powered crime complaint portal. — Isha Chitnis
8. Green tech will come to the fore for India Inc – and IT companies will lead the way
The buzz around green tech in India is real. Investments in sustainable tech doubled to $10 billion last year, compared to 2016. And it is expected to touch $45-55 billion market size in the next five years.
Specifically, more tech companies in India will double down on their efforts to develop sustainable solutions, both internally and for clients. “Indian IT services companies have a big role to play in helping others chart the path towards sustainability,” says Santhosh Jayaram, Global Head – Sustainability at HCLTech. “This could be in areas like efficiency improvements, risk mitigation, compliance or research and development – the application of digital can further the impact that companies are trying to make.”
Indeed, research by Accenture shows that cloud migrations can reduce carbon emissions by nearly 60 million tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 22 million cars off the road. “India being a leader in IT services can capitalise on building a host of software tools required for a green transition across segments,” says Ganesh Shankar, Founder of FluxGen Technologies.
What will catch the eye of those who are looking to invest in this space?
9. Revenue-based financing will no longer be the new kid on the block
India’s startup funding winter is well and truly here. Total funding touched a two-year low in the last quarter. And it won’t go away for at least a year, according to industry experts, like Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
With analysts predicting that we are on the precipice of another economic downturn, VC firms will continue to run a tight ship. What, then, can aspiring entrepreneurs do to secure funding?
Enter, revenue-based financing — a fundraising option popular in the U.S. and Europe but yet to take off in India. In this model, companies can raise funds which they can then repay through their future revenue.
“It is a more founder-friendly way of accessing capital,” says Bhavik Vasa, Founder of GetVantage, a revenue-based financing company based out of Mumbai. “It is a more simplified version of venture finance. There isn’t a 40-page definitive agreement, convertibles, or warrants.”
The method also has other benefits, like a flexible repayment cycle.
India, now, has about half a dozen firms that offer this option to raise capital, including GetVantage, N+1 Capital, and Klub. Each company has its own criteria for funding a business.
At GetVantage, it is performance-based, says Vasa. “The beauty of this model is that there is no human bias. The decision making is purely based on the business’ performance.” — Preethi Ramamoorthy
10. Mental health checkups will become mainstream
Companies realised it, Human Resources realised it, employees realised it — mental health is a priority.
Nearly four in five employees in India suffered from mental health issues over the last year, and COVID-19 forced us to reexamine how we can prioritise this important aspect of wellbeing. This introspection will pay off and companies will take more significant measures when it comes to mental wellness, including preventive mental health checkups in annual checkup programmes.
Tracking signs of mental health issues in the early stages will help prevent those symptoms from worsening. Hence, more companies in the future will come up with wellness initiatives to help employees prioritise their mental health. Meanwhile, some companies have already incorporated the same.
Shatakshi Sharma, co-founder of Global Governance Initiative, says, “We have free mental wellness checkups for all our employees. We also sponsor therapy sessions for our employees.”