The Skills They Taught You In College Are Very Different From What The Employers Want

Posted on August 29, 2014 in Education

By Anup Patwardhan:

Are you a part of the great Indian rat race? The county has a vast pool of talent and everyone is running mindlessly, not even aware that the race in reality, is not even a race. It is more like a run on the hamster wheel. There will be no stopping until we ourselves decide to put an end to it. The participants in this ‘run on the wheel’ are large in number. This number however, is not that significant when compared with the total populace of close to 1.25 billion. There is still a significant part of potential that is virtually, going down the drain.

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The number of unemployed youth today, is large. I will not get into the statistics for the sheer variations that are existent in different findings. The bottom line is that unemployment is threatening to plague the future of our nation. On the other hand, there are many vacancies that exist in our industries. According to ‘The National Association of Softwares and Services Companies’, there are about 3 million graduates and post graduates who enter the workforce each year. Almost a quarter fof these i.e. 25% are from a technical background. However, only 10 — 15% are considered employable by the IT/ITES industry.

A similar situation can be found world over. In a report titled ‘Education to Unemployment’ published by McKinsey, it is mentioned that the high percentage of unemployment can be attributed to the lack of skilful workforce. In US, 45% employers say that the vacancies at entry level jobs are due to the lack of skills while 42% of the employers worldwide believe that entry level workers are not efficient enough to begin work skilfully.

At the root of this problem lies the rift in the skills that are being imparted through various education platforms and the skills that are needed in industries and the actual field. The primary reason for this rift can be attributed to the inability of the outdated syllabus to keep abreast with the current demands of the job. Rectifications in this lacuna will be a time consuming process. This will only result in widening of the rift, further making it difficult to patch the gap.

There needs to be a support mechanism for this process of upgradation and assistance must be provided to ease the transition for entering the workforce from academic universe. Introducing skills training can come in handy in such scenarios. Providing training that will enrich the trainees with skills that are needed in the field and in industries will help them with their chances of landing a job. Thus, such training programs apart from providing a boost to the skill sets that the trainees have in their arsenal, will also be able to provide the necessary shot in the arm against rampant unemployment.

Upgradation of skills cannot just be limited to the new entrants in the workforce but also for the old war horses. They can stay updated with the changing times; not to forget that the improved productivity and efficiency that these programs will be able to deliver. It is a win-win situation for the firms as well as their employees, both present and prospective. Even the new government has started paying attention into this aspect. This is pretty evident from the Prime Minister’s first address in the parliament when he said that it was time to reform our identity to being ‘Skills India’. There has been a separate ministry for Entrepreneurship and Skills Development that has been created by the Central Government. Sarbananda Sonowal is head of this department. This is first such instance where a separate ministry has been created for the cause by our government. We must, though, not wait for the government to act and be proactively taking the necessary measures that will benefit us as individuals as well as India Inc. together. We must look into enhancing our skill sets that will provide a boost to our career. This, along with improving the employability chances of the ones not employed yet will also help lay a strong foundation to their careers in the industry.

In the McKinsey report, cited earlier, it is also mentioned that the employers are willing to pay 22% more salaries to the employees if they are equipped with the required skills. The employers as such can be said to be on a look out for readymade employees. With this in mind, there can also be collaborations between the education institutes and the industry to get rid of the skills gap.

Skills development can also be achieved through various internships. An impetus must be given in providing students with trainings at college level. The skills training will be a career building option. The trainings will act as a career booster for them. Skills training can also be achieved through internships which can help with the skills that are necessary in the required field. internship programs are helpful in imparting soft and transferable skills to the interns. There are various ways to get into an internship program in India. One such website that provides internship options in Letsintern. There also are others like Twenty19, Internshala, Hellointern, Makeintern among others. Many companies like Intel, Microsoft, Siemens also give industry exposure to the students via internships.

The training program can also give the trainees some exposure of the industry. There will also be an improved productivity that can be attributed to the expertise that will be gained through the skills training programs. The trainees will also become industry oriented with strong foundation knowledge and will have the competencies that are required to excel in a job.