This guest article by Sridhar Korkonda talks about different aspects of employability that need to be addressed at school and college levels. Sridhar has 23 years of experience in KPO operations, team and resource management, program and project management in global professional services firms across various domains. He has studied in depth the issues facing current education employability scenario in India, particularly with regard to Engineering and MBA graduates and he is passionate about finding sustainable solutions to bridging the talent gap and meeting the industry demands.
The need for job readiness and employability
All career related initiatives should begin with programs that try to impart and increase awareness from high school. This will help the students chose a discipline of their choice – be it arts, science, engineering, medicine, business, commerce or anything else in their pre-university and not simply flow with the tide and end up in engineering and medicine. Once they make an informed choice, it will be effective to expose them to the career opportunities in their chosen field while they are in their undergraduate program. The concept of “employability” versus academic excellence should be introduced at the undergraduate level. They should be introduced to the concepts of “Work Specific skills”, “Adaptive Skills” and “Transferable Skills” so that they can identify and adapt their areas of strengths and development.
Emphasis on National Occupational Standards (NOS) from the education level
The primary focus in most colleges in India is currently to impart theoretical knowledge and very little practical application. The curriculum is not revised in requirement to the industry needs and even when it is done, it is very inadequate. There’s very little industry intervention in shaping the curriculum, syllabus, imparting practical experience, assessment design etc., which is widening the gap between the demand and supply of talent of the youth of our country. Both industry and academia focus solely on academic excellence to select candidates creating situations of “square peg in a round hole”.
The demand and supply gap in talent
With the increasing gap between demand and supply, it is necessary that industry and academia work in tandem, just like in any other business – they form a “demand – supply – demand” chain or cycle. Also, creating awareness around career opportunities and options means to assess an individual’s interests, educating them on the importance of setting goals and finally providing them an environment to pursue them. . This will reduce the excessive demand for typical unproductive university degrees and create talent pool that’s passionate, skilled and productive. Also, the reasons for underperformance are multitude. I believe that there’s no quick fix for this problem.
Right use of digital technologies
Technology is the key to bring about large scale changes. Young people are adept in using technology so we need to use it this tool to influence, educate, create the necessary competitive spirit and fun filled environment to overcome these issues. Internet Of Things (IOT), Social Networks, Industry, Academia collaboration – all of them use technology and should be used creatively.