“Education and employability”- 15 September 2015.

A young final year undergraduate boy went for a job in an office of an accountant. He was doing commerce himself and he wanted to work in that field. He was asked to write a simple application on a plain paper and submit it and he would be called for an interview soon. Surprisingly he could not write a simple application letter and faltered in drafting it. If he did not know English he could write it in Marathi or Hindi but he could not do that even. Obviously we know the outcome of the episode. Take another example of a boy coming for the job of a teacher. He had a master’s degree in history. He was doing his Ph.D. but he did not have the basic skill of teaching. During the test he was asked to take a class and he was not able to communicate properly his ideas. He made a poor show of his talent. So he lost this opportunity of getting employed. There are many graduate students in arts and commerce who have degrees but no requisite skills of doing meaningful work in different types of work opportunities. Recently a graduate engineer came for counseling for his problems on the job. It was an interesting story. He had passed the officer’s exam and was selected. However in a few weeks itself he was greatly stressed out and was depressed. His sister brought him for counseling, for he was not able to cope up with the work pressures, nor with the people on the job. Neither his seniors nor his colleagues were happy with him. He realized that he severely lacking in many competencies and the degree of engineering which he had managed to achieve with hard work was inadequate. A lot of training would be required to help him cope with the situation but first his depression and anxiety had to be addressed.

Many companies who go for recruitment to colleges find no candidate suitable for their companies among the hundreds that are interviewed. Many companies who maintain good standards of quality would not compromise on the selection and rather reject all of them outright. Very few colleges are producing suitable candidates for fitness on jobs. Voicing concern over lack of employability skills among graduates, former Minister of State for HRD and External Affairs said a few years ago, that only 25 per cent of them are employable. Coming from the Minister himself this was an alarming state of affairs. “Of late, employability of graduates coming out of our educational system is becoming a matter of great concern. I am told only 25 per cent of the general graduates across all streams have employable skills”, he said. Further noting that only 35-40 per cent of engineering graduates are readily employable, he said, “this is a matter of great concern and needs to be addressed with all seriousness”.

One of the reasons stated by the experts is that there is a disconnect between what the industry needs and what the students learn, he said, as the curricula are not upgraded frequently enough to match the industry requirements. The issue of employability of engineering graduates has time and again been raised by academicians and corporate leaders.

Interestingly, a survey found, that contrary to the common notion that communication skills are the biggest challenge for engineering graduates in India, analytical ability, a subset of generic ability which measures logical and analytical reasoning, was the main problem. Imagine! If an engineering graduate does not possess analytical ability then who will. The survey said that if you have problems with communication skills, it would be okay with some companies. But problem solving skills are a must without which you have no way of getting a job, it was noted. Of courses different companies and different job profiles need a set of differing skills. Besides the degree which is proof that you have passed the theory exams with good percentage the youth need to focus on the set of skills that are required for the specific industry that he or she wants to be gainfully employed with. College students should focus on personality development and soft skills which is an imperative to work your way through the organization but also on technical skills required on the job. Just the degree is not enough. If the colleges do not take care of imparting the necessary education and training to the students the youth themselves should take it up as a necessary part of career building.


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