Much has been surveyed, discussed, written and debated about employment. But unfortunately, very few academic institutions understand the basic difference between employment and employability. By now, it is clear amongst Indian students that mere academic degree will not guarantee a job, neither does it guarantee employability. If getting a college degree alone is enough, the students across the country would all get a decent shot at jobs but the facts point in the opposite direction. Most surveys report that employability ratios have been around 25% of the population of India.
The root of the problem is the gaping shift in the training between what the academia prepares students with and the actual need of the Industry. This is truer in the IT industry than any other industry. Even though this has come to the notice of educationists, and there is some effort going into the direction of trying to prepare students for interviews, there have been no observable changes that have been made in the last decade. But institutes and IT evangelist like IIHT that collaborate between the academia and the industry has certainly borne positive results.
Key gaps in Employability
There are 3 key ingredients that go into making one employable:
Knowledge is just one component. Academia have mostly been fairing well in this area, but when it comes to technical knowledge, they fall short again, mostly because the field of technology is progressing at a must faster rate than the changes to the curriculum are implemented. Training in technical hands-on skills is another area of challenge for academia, simply because of disconnect with the industry, lack of well versed trainers and probably, the required infrastructure.
When it comes to the question of filling key gaps in employability and helping freshers get ready for new age job roles, it is the opinion of experts that Academia must take the initiative by partnering with the corporate world via experienced technology evangelists who offer services of campus to corporate transformation of students. Most students are unaware of the skills needed and the corporate world on the other side does not have the required resources to scout for and train from Universities. Here is a list of things that will help students get ready for job roles that are available in the market today:
- Revamping of curriculum in order to make it more relevant to the current industry needs
- Collaboration with the industry through Tech Evangelists with events, labs, internships, contests, assessments, skill training and mentor based projects.
- Training of current faculty members by inducting them to learn practical perspective
- Enhanced focus of hands-on skills in the most demanded technologies
- Focus on soft skills
While skills and knowledge are crucial to students becoming employable, the lack of an enabling attitude can bring down the ‘employability’ factor and thus, the focus on ‘creation of enabling attitude’ is a must. The right attitude is what will drive skills and knowledge. Based on experiences in various organizations, experts believe training in building all these three areas by industry experts will certainly help both freshers looking for jobs and corporate companies looking for the right workforce.
- The ability to focus and understand one’s strengths without being too concerned about the rat race
- Understanding the importance of soft skills, enhancing the focus on problem solving skills, client orientation, communication etc.
- Picking between learning opportunities and compensation
- Aligning to company value system and culture.
- Learning the art of cross-skilling
There is a two-fold requirement that needs to be addressed – 1. Accept these shortcomings of an academic institution and make student aware of such challenges 2. Partner with industry training partners in order to bridge the gap and ensure that your students become more employable, thus becoming really prepared for their first job.