The fact that only 3% engineers are suitable to be employed in software and product market and only 7% in core roles is now widely known and reflects the acute problem of employability in our country.
In my article on a Comprehensive Approach to Employability, I have discussed the reasons for this problem and argued in favor of a holistic approach to making undergraduate students employable through blended learning. There is another aspect of employability problem that I have been observing over the last few years and have confirmed it through a recent survey.
We asked a set of questions to 111 respondents, all students of engineering currently studying in various colleges across smaller towns & cities. Here’s what we found:
Less Than 10% Are Able To Define Their Career Path
One of the prime reasons for unemployability of students is the lack of clarity about career options available to them after completion of their degrees. Most are even ignorant about their own career preferences. Although many say that they want to take up a ‘well-paying’ job and work in a ‘reputed’ company, less than 10% have a pre-defined career map to reach their desired career goals.
We found that more than two-thirds are highly confused about what job roles exist and which ones to pursue to build a career of choice. This is also reflected in the profile of students enrolling at Innolat. Most are not aware of various job profiles needed in the industry beyond the conventional roles. Logical fallout of this is that many do not know what type of skill sets to build. In our survey, we found that almost 60% students were not sure of what technologies to learn and courses to enroll for to enhance their career.
The above numbers indicate a high level of ignorance towards specific career goals. Instead of identifying career avenues of choice and learning real skills to access suitable job opportunities many students are trapped in cramming outdated curriculum to achieve a graduate degree. Hence, even after 21 years of formal education, students still find it difficult to find jobs in the industry.
There Is Need for Finishing Schools
Students understand that they need to attend training outside of their colleges to acquire the requisite skills that are not available to them in their curriculum. More than half of the respondents in our survey felt such a need. Popular perception indicates that college education is inadequate in not only teaching job skills but also helping students apply these skills in a real environment.
It was not a surprise for us when 77% students said that they would choose a course which offers good-quality practical training and another 20% said they would also like the training company to provide them access to job opportunities. Clearly, students across colleges are yearning to be job-ready. This trend points to a dire need for education companies that act as ‘finishing schools’ for the students.
Becoming employable requires students to think thoroughly about the career path they wish to follow and then to acquire skills that can lead them on this path. While our survey is a modest effort in understanding students’ minds, it indicates a major problem that is a direct result of our education system. Hopefully, we will be able to address that problem through Innolat.