Why do graduates struggle for jobs in India?

Why do graduates struggle for jobs in India?
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Highlights

The clamour around jobs and unemployment has been there for several years. Despite the advent of technology and accessibility of education and resources, not much has improved. If you look at India, approximately 65 lakh graduates pass out every year which includes approximately 15 lakh engineers.

The clamour around jobs and unemployment has been there for several years. Despite the advent of technology and accessibility of education and resources, not much has improved. If you look at India, approximately 65 lakh graduates pass out every year which includes approximately 15 lakh engineers.

The output is year on year and experts keep saying 'We need skills'. What exactly are these skills? How can we build them? In the last two decades serving as the director of a management institute under the Symbiosis International University I must have interviewed close to 8,000 graduates for MBA programmes. Since management is an interdisciplinary area I've had the opportunity to look at graduates with engineering, BBA, BSc, BCA, BA, BCom, CA, BPharma and even Hotel Management degrees.

Lack of domain knowledge

The rigour of non-engineering courses is not adequate. In fact most of them are pretty easy going. Therefore students who are young and bubbling with energy have a lot of free time on their hands. The result is that a graduate is likely to have very limited basic domain knowledge for which he had primarily enrolled himself.

On top of it s/he has no other 'skills' that are required for getting employed. The college or educational institution therefore neither gives them skills which are essential for employment nor any domain knowledge required in a real work environment.

Lack of mentor

When there is no mentor to guide these students they end up making wrong decisions, often doing nothing on their own and completely waste their 3 to 4 years of 'prime time'. These are lakhs of youngsters aged between 21 and 23 bubbling with energy, who are unable to find a direction. Majority of parents have no clue as to how to guide them. This not only happens in small or tier 2/3 towns but also in metros!

Transformation and missed opportunities

I have seen thousands of students who transformed themselves from being mediocre to becoming extraordinary performers. I have also seen students losing a lifetime golden opportunity and some who missed the boat to glory and success. Why some succeed and why do several others fail?

In life some become 'haves' and most remain 'have nots'. Most graduates who are unemployable are also directionless with a lack of job-relevant skills and domain knowledge.

In fact they did very little to skill themselves during school and college days too. Their friends too are sailing in the same boat and cannot be of much use. It is not the fault of the students. This is a systemic problem. But if the system is not good enough, a student has to find a way to move forward in life. Make a good living, work confidently and move up the ladder - whichever ladder he wants to climb.

The gaping skill gap

When a fresh college graduate looks for a job what does the employer look at? What are his expectations from this 22 year old? Let us understand that a fresh graduate out of a college with no experience is not being interviewed for the position of a CEO or a vice president operations!

Even an MBA from a top B school is not hired for such positions. A fresher is going to be deployed at probably the bottom of the ladder (This should be taken in the right spirit as this is a fact!).

Any person who is interviewing a fresh graduate is analysing you based on these parameters:

l Is this person prepared to learn? Has s/he made any extra efforts to do something more than what s/he was told to do?

l Will s/he volunteer to walk that extra mile?

l Does s/he have a little more knowledge than his text books?

l Does s/he know what is happening around? Is s/he well informed and well read?

l Does s/he have an attitude to learn and a positive outlook towards life?'

The right attitude and personality

The methods of interview could be different but besides domain knowledge which is more important for IT/Tech jobs, the idea is to look at your overall development.

l Are you able to comprehend things, grasp questions?

l Are you open to new ideas?

Although HR professionals may not be able to judge your Emotional Quotient (EQ), the entire effort inadvertently evaluates you on that.

As they say... 'Companies hire on talent but fire on attitude'. A significant number of hiring managers attach a lot of weight to attitude and personality right in the beginning. 'If you have an employee with a great attitude but no training or skills versus one with a poor attitude with some education or training. Take the employee with the great attitude for they can be trained,' said Kailin Gow (a best-selling author).

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