Published on 06 May 2014. Written by Arjun Jagadeesh
The overall rates of employability of fresh graduates in India is steeply declining, and there may be various reasons for the same. India produces around 15,00,000 engineers every year. Of these, almost 40 per cent scout for a job for almost a year, while around 22 per cent take almost two years before bagging a job, according to HR firms. But whatever be the external conditions, the DNA of an engineer is to adapt, change and excel in testing conditions. But the irony today is, the very quality of Indian Engineering Graduates is steeply declining, especially in Rural areas, contributing to this low employability rate. There are varied reasons for low rates of employability, and I have tried to list out a few below.
Outdated Curriculum: Studying technical courses in this era is very challenging as technology is advancing at a very rapid rate. For instance, let’s take a subject on Android development. Today, there are about 100 colleges in the US offering it as a full-fledged course during engineering, while in India, a meager handful of colleges have adopted Android into its curriculum. This is one but many instances of the boards lagging behind the current technology. If modernization of courses is not applied at the initial stages of graduation, post course completion, engineers will be playing catch-up with the industry rather than shaping it.
Lack of Practical application: Despite having exceptional theoretical knowledge, fresh graduates are lacking in the field of practical application of the engineering knowledge, hence, will take a longer time to adapt to the industry. BBC stated that “Globally, “Engineering major” is now being termed “Science major” and the reason is lack of practical skills. If immediate action is not taken in this regard, the field of innovation will be limited to indoors only.” With this being the scenario, even prodigies can actually do very little in an industry unless they are trained & groomed, resulting in the company investing a great deal on them. Not every company has the time, or resources and that’s an expense not every employer wants to bear.
Lack of Industry Exposure: Very rarely do we see students taking up internships in companies during their education term, be it in their vacations also. It is only after being in an industry, can one understand the basics of its functioning. The Hindu Education Plus cited that “industry exposure forms a vital part of graduate studies and the present system does not provide adequate interfaces with the industry.” Hence, this has to be instilled into the students especially by the professors as that will provide them a very good understanding about the importance and deliverables of an Industrial Internship.
Soft Skills: Imminent in Tier-2 and Tier-3 organizations, wherein the student does not develop oneself in this front, despite being an academic genius. A recent employer survey by TIME magazine in India stated “44% of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap. Only half as many say a lack of technical skills is the pain point.” Development of soft skills is in direct proportion to developing self-confidence required in a Multi-National-Company dominated industry, wherein interaction with various nationalities is prime. Soft skills, if not given its due importance, might prove to be the Achilles’ heel in the current scenario.
Wrong Career Choices: Proper screening methodologies must be implemented by both institutions and students themselves before enrolling oneself into Engineering. Various cases are such that due to peer pressure or family made choices or the lucrative opportunities that a professional life in the technology industry has provided, has made engineering sciences the de-facto choice for graduate studies. Whether or not the student has the aptitude for the stream is not taken into account, resulting in uninterested engineering candidates, who haven’t taken to their subjects as much as they should have, making them irrelevant to the industry.
The above mentioned reasons are a few, but ones that are playing a vital part in keeping the rates of employability low. Only when these are meticulously visited and addressed at a micro level, will we be able to bring those rates lower, and see the engineering community happy, employed and thriving.
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