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Lack of Employability – Drought Amidst Plenty

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Globalization has led to phenomenal growth in the commerce and industry in recent past. The last couple of decades saw more emerging sectors of businesses which led to very complex requirement of manpower and that too in huge volume. The geographical boundaries seem to be diminishing for the business houses in their quest to explore and reach green pastures of markets for survival. The result is – Once what was called as “Industrial Worker” now comes to be known by a more sophisticated term “Human Resource”.
Let us consider the following statistics, from various surveys within a span of last 4-5 years collected by various agencies on higher education in India -
  • 9.9M students enroll in 347 “A” grade institutes and 16,885 colleges (NASSCOM)
  • 495,000 technical graduates, 2.3M other graduates, 300,000 PGs pass out every year.
  • Only 23% of MBAs from tier 2 and tier 3 institutes are employable (MeritTrac study)
  • Only 7% of Engineering graduates are employable for job in USA (McKinsey)
  • Only 25% graduates are employable are suitable for domestic industry (NASSCOM)

Academics v/s Employability -

The corporate world is conspicuous in its tenet of hiring a candidate – 60% employability index and 40% academics is the proportion they adopt in terms of the significance of these two crucial aspects.
Academic knowledge is only informative in terms of the details of concepts, techniques and/or technology and by all means is mandatory. However the score card is not considered a proof enough for thorough understanding of these concepts for a candidate and his/her ability to apply them in the actual field. Moreover, generally the syllabi of those various university courses have very little, as if not at all, relevance to the industry as they are mostly prescribed by the academicians and without any representation from the industry. The deplorable examination system, which tests only the memorizing ability of the students rather than understandability adds another dimension to the system of academic education.
Employability is the quality by which an individual is considered productive to an organization by way of deploying his or her skills. Employability is not knowledge but an attribute which reflects in the personality of the candidate; as such though it is a thing to be learned is not a thing to be taught. The quality is acquired by practice through inspiration, observation and following an ideal or role model. The soft skills training centers merely may provide guidelines and environment (read a simulated exposure) and ideal models (in the form of faculties) to help acquire the quality of employability 
Employability Attributes -
The employability attributes are – attitude, aptitude, analytical skills, communication skills, initiative, leadership and ability to express, to name a few.
Attitude is tendency or orientation especially of mind. Classified mainly as negative or positive; is the main driving force behind the progressive thinking when positive. Aptitude is a summarized term for quickness in learning, ability to understand and intelligence. Analytical Skill is the ability for reasoning and acting from a perception of parts of problem and their interrelations. Communication is imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinion or information by speech, writing or gestures; is necessary for working in a team for sharing ideas. Initiative is the ability to begin or to follow through energetically a plan or task; is required to take or share a responsibility and commitment to fulfill it. Leadership is an extension of initiative, by way of which an individual has ability to lead and be in commanding position of providing directions and guidance. Expression is an extension of communication skills which makes the communication effective and impressive to make audience believing in what has been communicated.

Employability Enhancement -
The foregoing part of the post was the problem, and there is nothing new as all those things have always been the subject for discussions. What is important is to find alternatives, if not the solutions; at the least the different practical ways to tackle the shortage of employability in the qualified youth of the country, or we are wasting a valuable resource. 

It is for quite sure that lack of employability is not the fallout of education system alone, otherwise how could at least 25%, as the survey says, who come from the same education system, be employable? One of my friends, an expert psychologist, was telling me the other day about and unofficial study they (in a group) did as part of their academic project. They had very interesting observation that, it was the family background, the upbringing of the person as child, the behavior of the parents, the child’s social contacts and surrounding, are the things which have a long term and deep impact than the education that the child or later as adult is exposed to. And this side has unfortunately been always ignored and we have failed to realize that there is lot much we may do instead of putting the whole blame on the education system. There are couple of suggestions that this team of observers have made that appealed to my mind -

  • First thing is to understand that employability is not a race, competition or rank but only evaluation of suitability for a job or responsibility in an organization. Employability is not the quality you should just have when you are finding job but just consider as a general quality or attribute you require to pursue any role in life. It is best defined probably as a qualitative term related to ability of taking a responsibility and fulfilling it. Entrepreneurship also requires employability.
  • It is a quality to acquire through observation, by following an ideal or role model, by indulging into social activities, sports, involvement in team activity and program organizations etc. But first believe that the quality has to be acquired and can be acquired. It is never inherent even in those who you assume your role model.
  • It is only the personal efforts which can make you employable; as it is not the knowledge but a part of personal development which automatically comes from social exposure and extra curricular indulgence and there is no way anybody can teach you. 
  • Analyze yourself, your own abilities, inclination and likings and pursue the same as your agenda. Interest and dedication matter most in fulfilling a responsibility in an organization.
  • Children in their adolescent age and on the edge of making a choice in career should be given a freedom, rather than parents imposing their own unfulfilled dream. Parents role should be only to provide guidance and information about the possible outcome of each field of career and this should start at an early age.
  • Parents should try to make an assessment of the child’s abilities, inclination and interests at an early age and help the child only to pursue the interest that should not amount to interference. 
  • The only thing an individual or a parent of a child should consider is that there is some scope for betterment as compared to self and not as compared to others. Following a role model is not comparison but is only a benchmark you set for achievements.
  • You can enhance your personal confidence by taking some fun filled and logical riddle solving and psychometric tests which automatically leads to increasing your employability factor.

Actually this list is not exhaustive as it might seem. Each of us know about this but the purpose is to suggest to put this to practice. Readers may read this post critically and make some more suggestion in the comments section.

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