Monday, September 3, 2012

The real issue of JOBS in our College Campuses

It was around the corner, people use to talk about this in whispers, all the stake holders were aware that it was happening but it all came out in open due to this article in Business Today

Placement is the real BUZZ WORD !!
As a Technology Enabled Education Services consultant I have been visiting college campuses since last seven years and whenever I meet the stake holders there such as Institute Directors, Principals, Training & Placement Officers or in few cases Students the only issue discussed is placements. Yes I do realise the importance of this particular issue and yes placements are really important in the career life span of a student and institute however there are few questions which needs to get answered before we dive deep into the problem itself.

Some Philosophical rambling !!

Do we learn or seek education just to get jobs or is there any other motive or objective behind the whole process of education ? In my view education makes one more capable to live his/her life. Education makes things simple to live and the struggle for survival becomes a journey one can enjoy. Education opens you up to the frontiers of the word wherein you can know the best things happening around you and explore new meaning of life.

Oh I guess I am exaggerating things here or am I becoming idealist ?? In today's contexteducation is a means of securing a better money making profession, Education can help you to become someone capable of extracting money from the people in lawful ways :) I am sure most of the parents wants their kids become successful and somehow success has been correlated with one's ability to be seen earning money and therefore we have become trapped in the present day situation wherein we have become slaves of the paper certificates.

When the problem really started ??

We need to understand the situation from the ground up. In my understanding of the situation the real drift occurred when we opened up our economy in 1991 after that due to huge exodus in the enterprise and as we attracted lot of capital business thrived. We opened up ourselves to the international market to other products and services and as effect of this competition increased. Earlier Indian companies were the only ones fighting for indian customers after economic liberalisation many MNCs jumped into the market to capture whatever share they can and be the part of the indian growth story.

Due to globalisation and improved logistics the whole paradigm of manufacturing goods and providing services have changed now rather than producing everything under one roof manufacturers started outsourcing and subcontracting stuff where it was made available at lesser costs. The new mantra was save costs, innovate and lower the prices to attract more customers.

As a result of this massive change the role played by talent or Human Resources in every industry also quietly changed. Earlier corporates could afford to hire people for prolonged training and they could also afford to wait patiently till the newly recruited resource learns the art or tricks of the trade and becomes completely productive.
After the opening up of economies and due to extreme pressures of reducing costs, increasing innovation and staying competitive suddenly the demand for talent and the entire value chain of talent sourcing changed dramatically. Now companies stated preferring freshers or candidates who can deliver in lesser time and training after joining. ( In IT industry the evolution and growth of training companies like Aptech, NIIT could be attributed to this huge requirement in the market, these companies provided courses which helped students to quickly learn the skills, technieques needed to work in IT industry)

Two eras Pre Year 2000 and Post Year 2000:

I differentiate the industry in two eras Pre Year 2000 and post Year 2000 as many things changed in the industry after the Year 2000. Earlier in Pre Year 2000 era companies while recruiting were only looking at the grades or merit after Year 2000 the same companies also started looking for an extra edge, skill, competency in the student which can speed up the process of making them billable or productive quicker. We call this particular invisible thing as 'Employability', which can be decoded as an ability of student to deliver his job with less retraining after joining the corporate. Earlier recruitment teams of companies use to give lot of importance to merit, grades or academic scores while making campus recruitments however now they also look for an attitude, capabilities and learnability (Ability to learn new things without much trouble) Now only paper certificates or degrees won't be important unless you are capable of demonstrating whats been written on your certificates.

Due to this shift in attitude of recruiters quantitative placements in campus recruitment phase started drying down. It is very interesting phase to observe as the demand for talent grew, the number of institutes imparting higher education grew however the rate of selection dropped phenomenally. This transition initiated another blame game played within the Industry and the Academia both started blaming each other for not doing enough to improve the picture and the only guaranteed outcome of this was the frustrated and depressed students and their parents who could not understand what went wrong after coughing so much of fees and investing three to five years of their life in the plush education institutes. This situation was perfectly ripe for the recruitment scams to happen mentioned in Business Today article cited above.

The time is shrinking !!

Before I use to wait for my snail mail to reach the recipient and he writes his reply and the same reaches me now I cant afford to do that now I demand quick revert :) Before I use wait for the book to get delivered in a week so that I can read the same but now I have kindle which gives me instant gratification. This is the age of instant things and therefore industry is also expecting to to get human resources well groomed and ready for at least basic things so that they don't have to waste time unlearning the crap they may have gathered along the way.
The solution to this problem in my view is as follows
  • All the stakeholders involved must understand that only academic scores are not going to be helpful to secure a good job and therefore meaningful efforts needs to be made to learn newer things while the students are at the campuses.

  • We always confuse between means and aim. Annual Social, Picnics, Cultural Festivals, various seminars are organised to polish various skills and provide an environment to practice these skills if this purpose is not being served you need to reinvent the meaning of all these activities on your campuses and restructure these events.

  • Every student must choose his choice of business domain (Such as BFSI, Retail, Hospitality, Retail etc) and functional role (Such as HR, Production, Sales & Marketing, Customer Relationship Management, Analytics and Research etc.) he would  want to play and start reading lots of useful information about the same available on internet. The more you read the more content you will get to think about and this will structure the context of your career path. The more information you gain you would develop an urge to collaborate, speak out, discuss, debate and this will give birth to your own thought process (Which is highly sought in the Job Market)

  • Lot of practice ground should be made available to the students to constantly practice the skills they are learning in the process. The more they practice the more they can become efficient in delivering the skills which will help them to build their competencies and stand out in the crowd of the job market.

  • One needs to stay constantly aware, inquisitive and thirsty for knowledge these days and passionate about what they really want to achieve in life.
If you are interested to know more about this please drop me a line at as I do professional consulting for Educational Institutes on how they can enhance the Employability Quotient (EQ) :) of their students by using Technology Enabled Education Products and Services and massive information available on internet.

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