Analysis of the Effect of the YouTube ban on Business
Women in IT a P@SHA Study presentation
Women in IT a P@SHA Study
In the third episode of Candid with P@SHA, a knowledge sharing session was held around discussing the best practices for organizational skill development. The panellists involved people representing diverse backgrounds including larger IT companies and SMEs having well-established training and career growth programs, as well as a boot-camp, focused towards the empowerment of the Pakistani women through vocational and IT business training.
The talk covered a lot of ideas and suggestions aiming for the improvement of the digital learning process for organizations under the current state of affairs. The acceptance towards digital and online learning has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected to go even higher post-pandemic as educational institutions and individuals will more likely move towards economical learning platforms. While there are many courses currently being offered free of cost to encourage online learning, it is still highly dependent on how passionate an individual is about learning and improving their skill set.
A point mutually agreed upon by the panellists was that while the youth of Pakistan are energetic, smart, and large in number, they generally lack enthusiasm towards learning or retaining the core concepts of education which later is visible in their professional lives.
For any organization, be it big or small, it is of utmost importance to nurture the passion of its employees and create a robust culture which emphasizes not only on working for a set number of hours but also concerns the personal and career development of an individual. In an execution-oriented culture where employees engage in a friendly and competitive learning environment, the motivation to excel and move ahead has been experienced to originate amongst the employees.
A few other ways of creating a learning environment discussed during the candid talk are as follows:
Moving towards IT-related academia where the focus is usually inclined towards getting an education for good software development, many important aspects such as product development, design thinking, leadership, and communication skills are often overlooked. A multi-faceted concept of learning which covers all bases while keeping into consideration the personality of the pupils was suggested by the panellists to create better engagement and industry-academia linkage.
Another sore subject in the IT industry is frequent employee turnover. Employees are often perceived to find better opportunities upon receiving expensive training from organizations. Most IT companies invest a large amount of money in the initial training but then proceed to offer little or no career development paths to the employees. To overcome this, creating a road map for the professional development of the employees at the very early stages of recruitment may help the organizations to retain their workforce for longer time periods as the employees keep looking forward to newer challenges and clear chances of growth. That being said, maintaining one-on-one relationships with the employees and creating a healthy turnover which benefits both parties in their long-term goals are also great learning points to consider for the companies.
In times like this where technology and craft keep changing with such great volatility, self-motivated individuals who keep on innovating and improving their skill-set through diversified means are the first ones who hit it out of the park and have much better chances of grasping the opportunities as organizational cultures progress.
The second episode for the topic COVID-19 & the New Business Regime revolved around the myths and facts based around the recently launched Temporary Refinance Scheme for Salary Support by the State Bank of Pakistan.
The panellists in this discussion represented all major stakeholders involved in the refinance scheme – State Bank of Pakistan (Regulator), Commercial Banks (the lending entities), and IT-focused SMEs (the beneficiaries/borrowers). The moderator raised the pertinent matters concerning the IT sector and the panellists responded to them with their knowledge and experience. Some of the key takeaways include:
SBP wishes to support the IT sector and has invited P@SHA recommendations on improving the financing scheme.
Objective: To prevent employees layoffs by the businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the State bank of Pakistan has been actively trying to facilitate businesses by launching several initiatives, one of which is the Temporary Refinance Scheme for Salary Support.
Source: Clause 7 – Period of Financing and its Repayment
o Invoice refinancing: Borrowing IT companies can apply for a loan on the basis of their receivables instead as well if the hard collateral does not cover the security entirely. A few IT companies have had success doing that with their banks.
o Corporate Guarantee: Borrowing IT company can get a guarantee from its corporate client; the onus on repayment shall fall on the guarantor in this case. SBP and Bank Alfalah confirmed that this is not unusual for the corporates to issue guarantees for their key suppliers.
o Collateral-free loan: With the Federal Government’s first loss guarantee of 40% to the commercial banks, the SMEs can avail clean lending of up-to 5 Million PKR without any collateral. This must be a big relief especially for the small IT firms who struggle to provide collateral.
o Processing Time: PFIs shall not take more than 15 working days for the credit approval process (from the date of receipt of complete information). Where the request is declined, the PFI will explicitly apprise the reason for rejecting the application to the prospective borrower. Where the request is declined, a copy of the rejection letter to the prospective borrower will also be forwarded for information to the Director Off-Site Supervision and Surveillance Department (OSED) simultaneously.
o Employment Condition: Objective of this scheme is to prevent layoffs, so the banks will disburse the salaries directly in the employees’ bank account instead of loan amount going out to the business.
The first episode for the topic COVID-19 & the New Business Regime revolved around the opportunities and shortcomings escalated by the Work from Home Arrangement for the IT businesses in Pakistan and all across the world.
The panelists for the discussion represented diverse domains from the IT industry such as Fin-Tech, BPO, SaaS & Recruitment and shared viewpoints based on their experiences. To facilitate work from home, it is vital for all employees in the organization to be provided with adequate resources including a stable internet connection, a good computer, and any other devices/ software/ training pertinent to their productivity.
An important point emphasized by all panelists was the inculcation of empathy, communication and trust in the workforce when working amidst a global crisis. Employees should be made comfortable in their homes without invading their space or micromanaging them from afar.
Some of the communication tools mentioned by the panelists were BaseCamp, Slack, Ms-Teams, Rooms and a few other conventional platforms such as WhatsApp, ZOOM and Skype.WFH has also shown promise for people, especially women, living in remote areas looking for employment since it allows people to operate from any part of the world. This can be a great opportunity for businesses to improve their workforce diversity and provide assistance to female workers who have great potential and can deliver quality work from home. The talent pools for any desired skill-sets are likely to increase exponentially with this situation. Where layoffs could be an unavoidable possibility in the future as some businesses may stop generating revenue at their previous pace, it can also result in talent and skill diversification.
Freelancing and availability of people willing to work from home is expected to rise which is a golden opportunity in terms of outsourcing. This is the right time for Pakistani companies to digitally transform their business models and create robust avenues which allow them to be available for outsourcing when the other countries are not. This not only helps retain the customers but also builds goodwill for the new ones.
While it is difficult to see the positives during these tough times, a pandemic just might prove to be the turning point in the fate of the IT industry which we have been waiting for, provided we play our cards right and reinvent the wheel accordingly.