Last week, I was talking to a young graduate, in early 20s, from a Greater Noida private university. Chatting over various topics, it was a quick realization that he was not able to communicate well in spoken English. The medium of instruction during his engineering graduation was English. This was shocking. I rang my brother, who graduated recently too, and asked for 20 random contacts of fresh graduates he knew are recently finished university in various streams. It was a personal revelation to me that nearly 60% of them were not possessing skills i would like them to have to base my decision to hire them for my organization. Hindu, a leading daily in India, published last year that more than 50% of Indian students graduating are unemployable.
I tried to analyse what is not working. Our education systems is too focused on academics and less or hardly any focus on application part of it. Parents force their ward to just acquire a degree certificate and they themselves lack skills to provide guidance to develop relevant skills which academia is incapable to provide for through traditional institutions.
Employability skills are general skills that are needed to get most jobs, but they also help you to stay in a job and work your way to the top. While there will always be some job-specific skills that an employer is looking for, most employers will also want you to have some general skills. This contains two areas one being the job-specific skills and the second general skills. First one, job specific skills, typically is easy one for employer to offer immediately on the job. Second one, general skills, is real challenge to acquire.
Now let’s have a look at general skills. What are they? The skills employers want
Communication – Both written as well as oral
Teamwork – Good social skills
Problem solving – Logical thinking
Basic Numeracy – Numerical ability
Leadership – Go get together attitude
Adaptability – For new ideas, situations, technology
Creativity –Out of the box thinking
IT- general proficiency in MS office and computer hardware/software
These skills are not taught as a special curriculum in our academic years. They need to be acquired. Here most of our graduate students fail. Now a days in colleges and by various soft skills or job-ready skills institutions these skills are taught. The graduate students are almost around 20 years of age. If they are not good enough in any of the above or all of the above general skills at this stage how they are going to fit in the job world?
Acquiring suck skills is an ongoing process and if one starts early, definitely he will have an edge over others. Parents needs to be more vigilant in finding right opportunities to groom their child based upon this self knowledge. Parents can start building upon it, no matter in what stream their wards have their degree, and become employable. The good news is that there are institutions coming up who are offering relevant help. In addition to that Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Modi, has recently revamped the NSDC (National Skill Development Corporation) organization. Their role statement is quite impressive “Develop ultra low cost, high-quality, innovative business models”. This statement seems they want promote a sustainable model. I wish success to both private and government efforts to bring skill level up among Indian youth. This area will help India become economic superpower in the years to come considering 50% population in India is below 25 years of age, which is whopping 600 million people. I wish a great success to these efforts.