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Is Talent Crunch creating a Global Jobs Crisis? How to tide yourself through tough waters

India churns out more engineers than most countries around the world, yet Indian industry complains of a huge talent crunch. We share you the reasons behind this tragic paradox although India which churns out more engineers than most countries around the world from as many as 3,500 engineering colleges are not getting good global offers. The number of engineering colleges has infact tripled in last decade and the multitudes that leave their portals every year have grown in numbers too. Yet corporate India complains of a huge talent crunch and thereby hangs a precarious tale of finding good talent. While the growth in the number of engineering colleges has been particularly astounding among institutions that qualify as tier-2 or top-ranked private institutions and state-sponsored government colleges and tier-3 or private institutions which are not categorized specifically, The number of tier-1 or premium central colleges like the Indian Institutes of Technology - IITs and National Institute of Technology – NITs have grown too, but not quite at the same pace but there is a huge gap in quality and proficiency.

In a recent survey conducted we saw that many engineering graduates from these tier-2 and more particularly tier-3 colleges are found wanting in “Industry Readiness”. Corporate India finds that most of these engineering graduates are “Unemployable” either because they lack social skills relevant for a job or are unable to adapt to new-age technologies. Infact of the 1.5 million engineering graduates turned out by the bourgeoning institutions around the country, only seven per cent qualify as ‘Employable’, according to the survey and this is just the tip of the iceberg. The upshot of the situation is what we are facing is a huge “Talent Crunch” in the job market. Of the millions of engineers who graduate every year, the industry considers only a handful immediately employable. The rest have to be trained, up skilled in various skills so that they may or can fit into prescribed job roles. Employability hinges on some primary skills that a graduate requires to acquire and retain a job and perform efficiently in it. Most companies find that job aspirant either do not have these qualifications that match the requirements of the companies or do, but are still not quite ‘job-ready’. The companies then have to invest precious time and equity to train the candidates where we provide our ‘Core Expertise’ on. While hiring high-quality engineers to meet our requirements is a typical problem of ‘Paradox of Plenty’. We tend to get a large number of applications but for laterals approximately five per cent actually get selected from our experience. At the fresher level, the selection ratio is even less than 0.5 per cent as Engineering has become a de-facto graduate degree for a large chunk of students today.

However, along with improving education standards, it is essential to evolve our undergraduate programmes and to make them more job centric as around 80 per cent of Indian engineers are not fit for any job in the knowledge economy and only 25 per cent have the relevant technology or industry skills from our observation of 14 years in the market as a training and IT partner. While HR Professionals face mammoth challenges in hiring talent who stick to the organization for a reasonable duration. The aspect of assessing their technical and behavioral competencies, validating the hiring process and understanding and meeting demands of young hires and lack of employable talent pool become core areas to be plugged. It is not an easy chore from our experience thus we introduced our RPO Solutions to corporates for better hiring decisions. While the reason for this tragic dichotomy is believed to be the fallout of flawed curricula of engineering courses. Today engineering students are compelled to study subjects that are often of little use to industry. Moreover, the curriculum of engineering courses has remained unrevised for decades. Their syllabus also remains largely focused on theoretical learning instead of hands-on knowledge.

There is, therefore a large disconnect between what current and potential employees think employers want and what employers really want. While the IITs always produce graduates who can learn new things with time giving them a strong foundation in various areas and fields so that they may pick up skills whenever they need to change their expertise. They should also focus on the learning aspects rather than specific aspects required by the industry for betterment. To bridge this skill gap, IBM has embarked on a new curriculum campaign across universities in India. We are working alongside them as ‘Training and Sales’ partner for building strong relations with leading universities, government agencies and professional organizations. This is to largely help academia keep pace with the rapid advancements in technology, relevant to the industry and we are here for everyone’s growth success story.

How to succeed in Industrial revolution 4.0?
While the fourth industrial revolution and evolving technologies have created their own demands. The industry now needs engineering graduates equipped with both professional skills and abilities and technical knowledge. The need of the hour is a skilled workforce capable of adapting to changing trends and needs of the industry. To be able to cope with the job crunch, engineering colleges needs to churn out graduates with the pre-requisite skills as suggested above. Passing out students may possess knowledge but may not have skills as per the needs of the industry. To make the youth job-ready, we have to provide them with an opportunity to learn more practical i.e. application-oriented knowledge by providing compulsory internship and revising our curriculum to remove outdated content of the syllabus and include content as per the need of Industry 4.0. A severe shortage of qualified faculty is another blight that threatens engineering institutions. The galloping pace at which institutions have bourgeoned has far outpaced the rate at which they have filled up faculty vacancies, resulting in a paucity of qualified teachers and a audit should be taken on this front as well.
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