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Roots of Innovation: A National Stem Day Journey

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From mechanisation to automation, robotics to artificial intelligence, the internet to the internet of things – digital technologies are advancing every day. This has led to a greater focus on subjects that help in building careers in these fields i.e., a curriculum based on STEM. Originally coined in the 1990s, the acronym has evolved over the years to include the arts; now, the STEAM proposition. This is because it is no longer about technical skills such as computer science and engineering alone but also design, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Expanding perceptions and demonstrating what a career in STEM/STEAM looks like beyond the traditional stereotypes is essential to addressing the skills gap. The growing emphasis on encouraging more women and girls to pursue high-skilled jobs in science and technology is further essential to driving diverse perspectives and spurring innovation.

On the occasion of National STEM/STEAM Day, leaders from Accenture in India, WNS, Seclore and Nutanix share their perspective on role of India Inc in promoting equal opportunities for all and India’s progress in STEM education.

Rinku Kaul, Lead – Human Resources, Advanced Technology Centers in India (ATCI), Accenture

“India’s leadership in technology has created a plethora of opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in STEM/STEAM. Skills related to the data and AI continuum, the cloud, security, platforms, and technologies such as digital twins, extended reality and robotics are sought after, across industry sectors. Secondly, the emergence of domains at the intersection of science and enterprise technology – such as space tech, biotech and next-generation computing – is catalysing advances in new material development, energy sources, climate change, healthcare, and creating career opportunities for those with these niche skills.

 However, there remains a need to bridge the skills gap and ensure a seamless transition from the classroom to the industry. At Accenture, we are committed to building a collaborative ecosystem and run initiatives such as the Accenture Innovation Challenge to inspire out-of-the-box thinking on real-world challenges among college students. We also partner with leading universities and research organisations in India to jointly develop technology thought leadership, research and educational programs. For instance, we have partnered with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru for research and development in cloud continuum and neuromorphic computing, and with IIT Madras to jointly develop intellectual properties in digital engineering and manufacturing.

We believe that a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion and equality being about a much-needed plurality of perspective and thereby, drive innovation. In India, we run a STEM orientation program for schoolgirls to inspire them to build a career in technology. We continue to build skills among marginalized segments including transgender people, people with disabilities and women from economically weaker sections through our inclusive internship programsThese are 12–24-week experiential internships that help them build marketable skills and become employable.”


Jayanthy Anand, Corporate SVP, WNS

“In the age of technology and innovation, India’s progress in STEM/STEAM education is an inspiring journey marked by talent, determination, and transformation. With a growing emphasis on education, India has become a hub for producing skilled professionals in the field, driven by both academic institutions and government initiatives. This investment in STEM/STEAM education not only creates a competent workforce but also nurtures a culture of innovation, paving the way for India to excel in the digital age and contribute to global technological advancements. Indian businesses have a responsibility to drive positive change by championing equal opportunities for all, including women, unrepresented groups, and underserved communities through inclusive hiring, mentorship, and diversity commitments. This not only fosters innovation but also strengthens our society.

At WNS, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is a critical agenda, and we practice it throughout the employee lifecycle. Our women leaders’ management program – Centurion, helps us attract and retain top women talent across business segments. This fast-tracks their career path through a 2.5-year program in association with Cornell University. In this era of technology, the advantage for this generation is that there are numerous opportunities across industries, unlike two decades ago where career opportunities were limited. More than academics what matters more is the attitude towards work, which should be driven by the will of learning, working in collaboration, and a futuristic approach.”


Vishal Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, at Seclore

“As India strives to become the world’s third-largest economy, the demand for skilled professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has been growing exponentially. Breakthroughs in areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have fuelled the need for a substantial talent pool in STEM. In a world where innovation and technology drive progress, India’s commitment to STEM is not just a choice, but a necessity. A future of jobs report 2023 by the World Economic Forum suggests that over 75% of firms are looking to adopt AI, big data analytics, and cloud computing in the next 5 years. This provides us with an opportunity to upskill and reskill India’s youth to bridge the skills gap and pave the way for a brighter, more prosperous tomorrow.

STEM education is a catalyst for economic growth in developing nations like ours. The inclusion of women in technology should be a priority for India as they are the architects of tomorrow’s breakthroughs and the leaders who will help navigate India through the ever-evolving landscape of technology. Providing women with a strong foundation in STEM education, hence, enables them with problem-solving and critical thinking skills to foster creativity and innovation.

At Seclore, we firmly believe in empowering women on all fronts and we are proud that our top management roles are led by women. We recognize the invaluable contributions of women in shaping the future of technology, and we’re dedicated to providing opportunities, mentorship, and resources to help them thrive. Our strategy is to continue to establish diversity and inclusion to hire, retain, and promote women to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving job market.”


Sankalp Saxena, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Operations, Nutanix India

“India’s notable progress in STEM/STEAM education reflects its commitment to fostering a knowledge-based society. The nation’s emphasis on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts is empowering a new generation of thinkers and innovators. This surge in educational development is complemented by a diverse landscape of career opportunities within the science and technology sectors, whether in research, startups, or established companies. Moreover, an increased appetite for risk-taking, coupled with access to funding, is hyper-accelerating innovation cycles in the country, thus establishing India as a fertile ground for talent to flourish.

Furthermore, India’s corporate landscape continues to invest significantly in cutting-edge technologies. This investment has not only fostered innovation but has also ignited a surge in demand for engineers skilled in areas such as cloud computing, AI, data analytics, product design, system architecture, and programming languages. The rising prominence of global capability centers in India is a testament to our engineering prowess, as they increasingly drawn to India to tap into our exceptional engineering talent.

To ensure that India remains at the forefront of technological advancement, it is crucial to bridge the industry-academia gap effectively. We must focus on skilling and upskilling our engineering workforce to be future-ready. Our compendium of virtual training programs, offered through Nutanix University, allows all employees to upskill at their own pace. This investment in talent will be pivotal in driving our companies and our nation forward in this era of technological transformation.

India Inc plays a pivotal role in advancing inclusivity by fostering equal opportunities for women and girls, unrepresented communities, and underserved populations. Through diverse hiring practices, mentorship programs, and community outreach, corporate India is contributing to a more equitable and diverse workforce. This commitment not only empowers individuals but also strengthens the nation’s economic and social fabric. As we look ahead, we must continue to prioritize inclusivity and diversity in our workplaces to create a more just and prosperous society.”


Dr. Mukesh Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Creative Synergies Group

“India’s 2023 graduate skill index report indicates a positive development of the STEM talent base. It also reveals a promising employability rate of 48% among Indian graduates in AI and ML roles. Considering that tech talent seemed to be shying away from deep technology such as AI, advanced materials, blockchain, robotics, drones, photonics and quantum computing up until a few years ago, this is a step in the right direction. 

But with each win comes the scope to do so much more. The employability rate of women in STEM has remained low, at 28%. 43% of STEM graduates in India are women, but the gendered notion of STEM roles prevent women from thriving in this industry. Differently abled people also do not have much representation in this sector. So if there is one thing that businesses hiring STEM roles need to focus on in the coming years, it is to recognize the need for more diversity. With a diverse workforce, the opportunities for unparalleled innovation and growth increase tenfold.

Creative Synergies Group has always been an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, caste, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical/mental disability etc. And we are currently on the lookout for exceptional talent who can elevate our digital engineering solutions. On this National STEM Day, we pledge to continue setting examples of inclusivity without compromising on the quality and excellence of our services and solutions.”

Binod Singh, CEO and Chairman, Cross Identity

“In a world fueled by technology, where our daily lives are increasingly intertwined with digital landscapes, National STEM Day takes on a profound significance. The ever-present challenge of cybersecurity looms large in our interconnected society, reminding us that the mastery of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) is not a mere choice but a necessity. As we celebrate this day, we must recognize that STEM is the bedrock upon which we can build a fortress against the relentless waves of cyber threat. 

From an Indian perspective, the journey through STEM is both a challenge and an opportunity. We have the talent, the potential, and the ambition to lead the charge in technological advancements, however, to bolster our cybersecurity defenses, we need to foster a culture of innovation and enhance our STEM infrastructure. The advancement of STEM, particularly in India, has a profound bearing on the efficiency of our cybersecurity efforts. As we refine our STEM education, research, and industry collaborations, we fortify our digital ramparts, equipping ourselves to face the cyber challenges of the future.

Just as STEM fields drive innovation, Cross Identity empowers individuals and organizations to navigate the digital landscape securely and confidently. Together, we forge a path towards a future where innovation and identity thrive hand in hand. United, we possess the capability to reshape our technological landscape, ushering in an era of heightened cybersecurity efficiency”

Rajalakshmi Srinivasan, Director of Product Management at Zoho Corp.

“’STEM education’ may be a relatively new term in our education sector today, but India has always been the go-to talent pool worldwide for tech and engineering skills. It’s no secret that advanced economies have relied on India’s STEM talent over the years for growth and technological progress. Thanks to Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Al-Khwarizmi, who not only contributed towards laying the foundation of STEM education in the country but also worked on spreading awareness about its importance worldwide.

The ongoing startup movement, booming digital innovation, and global demands and opportunities to build deep-tech solutions based on STEM learnings have led to skyrocketing demand for deep-tech skillsets, which in turn has re-emphasized the importance of STEM education at the grassroots level in India. This makes it all the more important for the government, education sector, and companies to collaborate and work together to nurture an ecosystem that promotes the growth of STE(A)M skills in the country through incorporation of equivalent programmes in the curriculum and investment in long-term upskilling and training programmes. For instance, at Zoho Schools of Learning—Zoho’s in-house alternative to conventional college education, the student curriculum is thoughtfully designed to integrate art and culture with STEM concepts to nurture young minds to be the visionaries of tomorrow’s problems.

Aside from this, there’s also a dire need for private educational institutions and companies to step in and support the country-wide efforts underway to revive the rural India and shape it into a talent powerhouse for both national and global demands. Taking into account what has already been set in motion, I’m optimistic about an egalitarian society in the near future where everyone is given an opportunity to learn, think and reason without any prerequisites, including STEM education.”


Roopa Hungund – VP, Product and Engineering, Publicis Sapient

I chose engineering as my field of interest, in part due to my inclination towards maths. It was only later I realized that there is more to engineering than just maths, and this pushed me to delve deeper into the nuances of software engineering. I believe that’s the decision that helped expand the horizon of potential opportunities before me.

Education plays a very strong part in deciding the future each of us embarks on. And as a young girl, I was determined to not limit myself to stereotypes when it came to pursuing my studies. Similarly, I think if women everywhere dream of pursuing a career that defines them, having a ‘can-do’ spirit from the start is half the battle won.

I also strongly relate to the analogy – ‘blinkered horses are trained to focus on the path ahead’. I say this, because it’s very common for women to get overwhelmed and not pursue opportunities in the fear that they may not succeed. It is important to stay positive when it comes to exploring new opportunities and not let external opinions bother you. If we embed this in our minds, there is nothing we cannot achieve.

While systemic changes and mindset shifts are critical to encouraging women to choose a career in a male-dominated field like STEM, women also need to realize their own strengths and weaknesses to create opportunities for themselves. Women inherently possess the enterprising qualities that also are hallmarks of true leaders – focus, intellect, structure, drive, integrity, and dedication. Unearthing and honing these skills, often left latent, will help a lot of us women to accelerate career growth.

For women, I think the biggest source of strength comes from breaking free of guilt. Women often belabour with the need to make a choice – career versus personal life. I opine, and something that I have always followed, is to choose both. These choices do not have to be mutually exclusive unless one wants it to be.  Plus, I believe it’s always smart to invest in a good support system that aligns with the important people in your life – in difficult times, it’s this support system that will come to the rescue. Ultimately, whatever path you choose in life as a woman, it need not be accompanied by guilt.


Rumi Mallick Mitra, Director Corporate Responsibility, EY GDS

In today’s fast-paced and increasingly complex business landscape, the need for a well-rounded workforce has never been more pronounced. The shift from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning to STEAM (STEM + Arts) learning is a strategic imperative for businesses seeking to survive – and thrive – in their respective domains. The scope of STEAM to change the future workforce – and the future workplace – clearly represents a paradigm shift in the future of business. 

Real-world challenges require the integration of multiple areas of knowledge. This shift in narrative emphasizes a holistic and well-rounded education, which includes the arts, inspires out-of-the-box thinking, problem-solving and innovation – just the skillsets that are of primacy in today’s workplace. While STEM education equips individuals with the technical and analytical skills required for digital transformation and technological advancement, STEAM promotes an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates the art forms to foster creativity and innovation. 

EY GDS has recognized the importance of promoting STEAM education to foster a well-rounded and diverse talent pool. Through our initiatives that support STEM mindset building for school students, to scholarship programs for students pursuing STEAM-related degrees to university partnerships such as internships and co-op programs and capstone projects-based learning, we focus on skill development and training in real-world challenges. Our focus on STEAM education extends in the realm of DE&I and CR also as we look to attract and retain talent from underrepresented backgrounds in STEAM fields, as well as through continuous learning and development programs. 

Today, what is of import is a well-rounded, interdisciplinary approach that can lead to a more innovative, diverse, and adaptable workforce. Therefore, a STEM mindset is critical for fostering skills and abilities that are relevant in our times. It equips individuals to innovate, adapt, and address a wide range of challenges, both at a personal and societal level.

It’s time to welcome the new-age workplace – powered by STEAM!


Shailesh Davey, Co-Founder and VP of Engineering, ManageEngine, Zoho Corp

“STEM fields are critical to the advancement of society, with new developments and innovations happening everyday that have completely transformed the way we live. STEM offers boundless opportunities to explore novel ideas, experiment with emerging technologies, and address global challenges. This depends on a future workforce that is prepared and skilled enough to innovate, sustain, and improve. In a country like India, there are ample STEM graduates who still struggle to find a job because of an existing skill gap, and employers need to think creatively about training, upskilling, and reskilling.

“When it comes to entry-level candidates, it is probably best to train them when they are young. Additionally, paving different routes of entry, such as apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and internships, can lead to successful careers in both traditional STEM industries and in the wider scope of work. And, as opposed to traditional methods, training in STEM needs to be approached in a way that naturally evokes curiosity within the learner, prompting them to ask questions along the way. This approach aids in the development of a skilled workforce capable of leveraging technologies to drive growth and efficiency, and to deliver value to various sectors. Whether it’s education, healthcare, engineering, or any other field, these professionals play a critical role in transforming society.” 

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