Fit for the job
SYSTEM UPGRADE A survey ~ suggests that engineering graduates are more job-ready this year. What ^ can students from other streams learn from the change?
Higher education domains have shown improvement in job-readiness of fresh graduates this year, according to an employability survey conducted jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the All India Councilfor Technical Edu-cation (AICTE), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Gurugram-based human resource consultancy Peoplestrong and online skills assessment company Wheebox.
The study surveyed 510,000 students and 120 companies to find that, since 2014, overall employability among graduates has risen from 34% to 46%.
In other words, nearly half of the fresh graduates surveyed have been found to be employable, against about one in three, four years ago.
Fresh engineers, often termed largely unemployable, were
> There should be mandatory soft-skills training of at least two months, with lessons in language and critical thinking for management students.
NIRMAL SINGH, co-founder of Wheebox
found to have 52% employability.
Within the engineering domain, those pursuing computer sciences had the highest employability scores. J Nair, principal of the Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology, Chembur, says this is the result of constant efforts on the part of institutes to make students industry-ready.
"Over the last four years, our student intake had increased from 360 to 540. We have had to introduce add-on courses in
technology and soft skills to keep up with the industry demand for job-ready engineers," she says.
Two years ago, Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology set up a lab to train students in artificial intelligence and industry automation. Four years ago, they introduced a course in conversational skills. "This is effectively the first batch that has had all these additional advantages," Nair says.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
The improvement in employability rates are expected to have a three-fold impact: graduates will be able to compete more effectively in the job market, demand for quality employment will sharpen the jobs debate in India, and industries will finally have a more job-ready pool of freshers to draw from."This is good news for industries," says Nirmal Singh, chief executive of Wheebox. "But the employment scenario is changing swiftly and jobs that were in demand five
years ago may not be favourites two years from now. So everyone needs to be on their toes."
Among states, the top 5 (in alphabetical order) were Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karna-taka and Kerala. Bengaluru, Chennai and Indore were the top three cities in terms of employability. AICTE chief Anil Sahas-rabudhe said his organisation, the apex technical education regulator, has taken measures also to help make students industry-ready. "We will draw on this survey to further improve the quality and relevance of technical education," he added.
Not all the results were good. Employ ability ratings for graduates of management institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and those with a Bachelors degree in Commerce showed a negative trend in the study, titled India Skills Report 2018.
"MBA is the new BTech, where everyone wants to get
MB A degree irrespective of their graduation degree," the report states.
"Engineering had become j ust another stream to graduate in, instead of a professional vocation which, in the last decade, led to rise in poor quality engineering institutes. There is a similar trend in business schools now," says Nirmal Singh, co-founder of Wheebox. "Astringentapproach is the need of the hour to improve overall employability situation across nation by regulatory bodies like AICTE, UGC, AIMA and others," the report said. "Business schools should tie up with the small and medium sectors, which will need managers for logistics, travel, healthcare etc, so that students undergo an eight-month internship in every two-year Masters programme. There should also be mandatory soft skills training of at least two months, with lessons in language and critical thinking as part of skill development," adds Singh.