Qualification & Employment Gap in India

1. Relationship between Academia and Corporate
There is no doubt that the education and corporate sector are inter-dependent. Educational institutes need corporate to provide employment opportunities for students. Corporate sector needs educational institutes to provide quality workforce. Together, education and corporate sectors contribute to enhancing nation’s socio-economic level and improving quality of life. So, both education and corporate need each other and are equally important.

2. The problem and the context
While education and corporate sector are complementary to each other, they have certain issues with one another. The educational institutes feel that corporate prefer only top colleges and schools for recruiting fresher candidates. On the other hand, corporate says that finding talented candidates for recruitment is quite difficult. And this has been going on for quite some time.
To put things in right context, let us examine some facts.

In spite of having employment opportunities available, most of workforce in India is unable to find desired jobs

We are a growing country with population of 1.2+ billion. About 0.8 billion of them are in working age – implying that we have more than sufficient human capital to meet the manpower needs of the industry. These people include huge numbers of educated and qualified people in workforce looking for desired jobs. Yet, corporate faces severe shortage of required people in workforce.

The irony is that in spite of having employment opportunities available, most of workforce in India is unable to find desired jobs and struggles to remain part of active workforce.

Why is it so? Let us understand the underlying conditions leading to this irony.

3. Why the problem

The reason for the ironical situations is absence of ‘Right Fit’. In most of the cases, the ‘Right Fit’ between what an organization needs and what a potential candidate has to offer. The Right Fit means suitability on multiple dimensions such as qualifications, skills-set, personality traits, competency profile, compensation & benefits, work culture and the job requirements.

Talent-gap among the educated class is increasing alarmingly and is expected to reach 75-80%

For organizations, the quality of workforce is more important than quantity. When they scout for potential employees, the educated and qualified pool has been found to be wanting on many of the dimensions. This hinders striking a right fit resulting into a scenario where people have knowledge that corporate do not require, and jobs for which the right candidates are not available.
Many studies are available putting varying estimates, from 20 to 60%, for employable fraction of workforce in the country. A recent study suggests that talent-gap among the educated class is increasing alarmingly and is expected to reach 75-80% for all industry sectors.

4. Effects of the problem
The problem leads to multiple negatives effects. India has an amazing 60% of the population available for working (in working age) which can positively contribute to GDP, but only 25% of the pool can be effectively used by the market.

In such scenario, people would either be without jobs or would take up jobs way below their qualification levels with high possibility of being underpaid. This is big drag on the nation’s economy. This would lead to weakening in general morale of country. In extreme situations, the jobless youths get lured by anti-social elements (i.e. naxals / terrorists) posing bigger threats to safety and security of public and property.

Given the dire consequences, it is critical for all of us to improve the scenario much sooner than later.

5. Root causes contributing to the problem
The problem has deep roots in both education and corporate sectors with external elements as well. The factors contributing to the problem are discussed in Table I. Among these, lack of adequate infrastructural facilities in campus, less than required duration of industrial training and concentration on theoretical learning are major ones.
While there are multiple factors to the problem, at basic level each would boil down to the root cause of huge mismatch in expectations of corporate sector and output from education sector. The mismatch has been continuing for many years and has largely remained unaddressed. Due to lack of timely action, it has now assumed demonic proportions. There is urgent need to address the gaps for improving the results and increased contribution to national economy.

Many of the students and teachers consider industrial training a formality, needed to pass the course

6. Solving the problem

An effective and fruitful partnership will result into readily employable workforce immediately at the end of the academic program. Together, they can reduce the skill and talent-gap and put our country into higher growth trajectory.

To solve the problem, we need to establish greater participation between academia and the industry. There is need for better understanding of the requirements, expectations and the challenges of each other. Basis, the common understanding we need to develop appropriate solutions and implement them to bridge the gaps. Some of the elements for improvements, which need better understanding between the two, are discussed in Table I.

Amongst these, having adequate infrastructural facilities in campus, having longer duration industrial trainings and emphasis on practical aspects of learning are crucial ones for improvement.

7. Conclusion
In spite of demand for talent and supply of qualified workforce, there is huge gap in employability, leading to unemployment or under-employment. These issues pose great challenges to nation’s economy and greater threats to nation’s safety and security.

To address the problem, the corporate and academia needs to engage proactively and enhance partnerships for better results. The major areas of improvement are campus infrastructure, industrial training programs and examination evaluation format. With positive changes on these elements, we’re sure to take educational programs to much higher levels.

To complement the improvements in education sector, the corporate sector needs to imbibe the culture of employing fresh talent and consider training as an investment in future of the trade and nation. Additionally,

corporate organizations need to strictly follow the Right Fit approach while recruiting

, i.e. right balance among qualification, experience, competency and job requirements.
Combined, all these improvements would lead our nation to grow at faster pace.

Read Full Article Here by Unmesh Abhyankar

 Image Credits

Unmesh Abhyankar
Chief Operating Officer at Mundra Port & SEZ Ltd.
Unmesh Abhyankar

Unmesh Abhyankar

Chief Operating Officer at Mundra Port & SEZ Ltd.