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IT layoffs and its impact on educational institutions

The infusion of Artificial Intelligence and automation has changed the corporate world beyond imagination. Jobs that were being done manually can now be done by a computer, thus doing away with the need for a person to manage it. Underperforming employees and employees who lack the relevant industry skills are laid off from the organisation. Layoffs indirectly send a message that companies are looking for performers and individuals with the relevant skills are needed for a demanding job role.

Unkept promises

IT layoffs impact various stakeholders, and one of the stakeholders bearing the brunt today of such developments are the educational institutions. Many top institutions, during their admissions, mostly promise placements at MNCs and top Indian corporates. With layoffs happening at many of them on a significant scale, it becomes difficult for educational institutions to deliver since many big firms, including MNCs, no longer want to mass recruit, but only want to hire those who fit their bill.

This is contrary to the situation a few years ago when firms hired hundreds in the hope that training would suffice to change their employability factor. This was mainly because companies changed their hiring practices: while earlier they'd hire freshers in bulk in anticipation of future contracts, the strategy has now shifted to just-in-time contract hiring. With placements falling to fructify in many of the educational institutions, the faculty at these institutes are often blamed for not equipping their students with the appropriate knowledge to face interviews. In short, the reputation of educational institutions is at stake during times of layoffs.

This being said, IT layoffs do not mean MNCs do not hire fresh talent. The firms are only hiring who are equipped with the necessary technical and soft skills.

Shifting sands

Universities need to understand that technology is not constant and it is continuously evolving. The current curricula provided by institutes are mostly not in sync with industry needs. There needs to be a change in the skillsets and courses in colleges to ensure students are Industry-relevant and industry-ready. They must realise the importance of employability in students and work towards assessing and increasing it among them. Introducing mandatory internships during the course will give them hands-on experience, and enhance the communication and cognitive skills for all the students.

Taking the bull by its horns

Students themselves can deal with the situation through self-learning and by equipping themselves with the skills required by corporates by enrolling for value-added certified courses along with their professional degrees. Aspiring candidates can keep themselves updated about the latest trends in industry which would help in keeping their skills relevant to industry. They can also enroll for self-assessment and enhancement programs which will help the students understand their employability and skill gaps, along with assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

Students must not be bogged down by the news of IT layoffs; the industry is simply looking for candidates that fit their job profiles in every area. If educational institutions and students, both put in an equal effort to stay industry-relevant, there will be no need to worry. There is still hope for students to be employed and placed in good firms, including MNCs, provided they work towards it.

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