Employ-ability in High Growth Sectors
The bookish knowledge of a new employee is not enough in the long run as sustainability is a big factor in the growth of an individual. Thus researching into the deficit, universities and industries are conducting workshops; experts from the industries are training students at various levels as per their needs. Short-time programmes are on the focus of both sides and are proving beneficial in the long run of enhanced employability skills By Jaydeep Saha
n recent times, our higher education system has been discussed in many fora with regard to its relevance and quality. India is ranked third in terms of graduates output next to that of USA and China, but in terms of quality, we are trailing, as hardly one percent of our students get quality education. Today’s high unemployment rates mask longer-term talent shortages that may affect both developing and developed countries for decades. The global population of 60 years and older will exceed that of 15-years-old or younger for the first time in history by 2050. But, the talent crisis will start much sooner. Barring technological breakthroughs, the United States, for example, will need to add 26 million workers to its talent pool by 2030 to sustain the average economic growth of the two past decades. The global IT industry has been a big employer of young talent across the globe because of the increasing influence of IT in business transformation. The global meltdown is being seen as
an opportunity to transform across the world and they are looking at IT to lead this transformation. IT has become “glocal” — it has to transcend geographic and demographic barriers to deliver this transformation. Technology innovation is driving IT complexity and strict compliance norms and concerns of business continuity is driving a need for repeatable processes and assured performance. When talent hiring is taken into focus, development and deployment on a global scale, cannot afford to create artificial boundaries that global commerce does not support. Assuming that talent from a handful of countries can meet the new demands being made on Global IT is wrong besides being local is a critical factor that will drive our ability to truly partner with our customers where they are. The four parties who need to play a role in addressing this critical challenge are the Government, education institutions, industry, and the students themselves, who need to better understand the changing role of technology and
innovation in driving transformation. None of the four can make this work in isolation — it will take a well-coordinated approach. The real debate is not about who is smarter or how can we create trade barriers to protect jobs but how we invest in every country and ensure we create rich, employable talent that is globally available and will drive efficiency and innovation in our businesses. Every year, India produces more than 2.5 million university graduates, of which 20 percent are engineering majors and only 25 percent of these technical graduates and approximately 15 percent of other graduates are considered employable by the rapidly growing IT and ITeS companies, estimates NASSCOM adding India has 350 universities, 18,000 colleges and 6,000 ITIs, which every year come out with about 500,000 technical graduates, of which, 75 percent are not easily employable, and 2.3 million graduates, of which 90 percent are considered unemployable.
The current state of affairs presents a compelling case for private-public partnership through industry-academia alliances to enhance talent development amongst the youth at the grassroots level. NASSCOM’S IT Workforce Development (ITWD) program was specifically designed to keep the issues and concerns of the industry as well as the challenges of the academia in mind. “NIIT is running the Executive MBA program in partnership with IGNOU. This is a high end program, with entry into the program restricted to mid – level executives displaying potential for career growth. It takes an applied view of management science, and covers many emerging and contemporary areas – such as Business Networking, Sustainability, Digital Marketing, Social Entrepreneurship. The Executive MBA program is designed to improve the productivity of existing managers and gear them to higher levels of performance,” said Shraman Jha, Senior Vice President, NIIT and Business Unit Head of NIIT Imperia. The role of ICTs in education is well recognised the world over. If we look at it from the perspective of employability, then the first information revolution in India was about the successful export of IT services where we leveraged low-cost developer resources. There are over 1.5 million software developers in India today, which has now become the largest developer community in the world. The second revolution is about where we need to learn how to use IT to power job creation, to leverage IT to accelerate education where we can actually educate 500 million plus youngsters below the age of 20 and the remaining 500 million, many of whom who actually need further enhancement of professional capabilities. This revolution will require several paradigm shifts. It will require IT companies to innovate for India instead of simply innovating from India. The Cisco Networking Academy initiative, for instance, partners with over 190 educational institutions in India delivering information and communication technology skills to improve career and economic opportunities amongst the youth in India. Besides Cisco, Intel and IBM have also helped bridge the ur-
“Our Executive MBA program is designed to improve the productivity of existing managers and gear them to higher levels of performance” Shraman Jha
Senior Vice President, NIIT and Business Unit Head of NIIT Imperia
ban-rural digital divide by taking technical education to tier II and III cities, including Kashmir, Orissa and Tripura. “The little modernisation that we have taken up is that ITIs will not be controlled by the state governments and will have a small institute management committee which have an industry partner, who is the chairperson of the society, and consist of five members from the industry, besides broad-basing the structure of the management and five members from the government and the principal becomes the member secretary. Therefore decision is made easier at every level of the education and the industries are directly not paying here as the government is paying 2.5 crore per ITI and it has actually revolutionised the face of the society,” said Sharda Prasad, Director General, Employment
and Training and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
Employability = Academics + General Abilities + Corporate Knowhow These three parameters can be taken along the three dimensions of a cube. The enclosed volume of cube formed will symbolically represent the universe of employment. Within this universe, the students or employment seekers would be represented by a floating point and employers or corporate will be represented by a smaller cube (sub-cube). The current situation prevailing is where most employers know what they want and they are clear about the sub-cube they want to create. But, the sub-cube they create
“ITIs will not be controlled by the state governments and will have a small institute management committee which have an industry partner, who is the chairperson of the society, and consist of five members from the industry” Sharda Prasad
Director General, Employment and Training, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India digitalLEARNING / march 2011
rarely captures enough floating points within the universe of employment.
Quality India has 350 universities, 18,000 colleges and 6,000 ITIs, which every year come out with about 500,000 technical graduates, of which, according to NASSCOM estimates, 75 percent are not easily employable, and 2.3 million graduates, of which 90 percent are considered unemployable. These are statistics which can vary from panel to panel but they are essentially true. Most of the college graduates remain unemployable because of lack of job oriented training. If training has to deliver job-level skills in an increasingly globalised world, strong industry leadership and engagement with skills training, qualification and assessment framework is essential.
Capacity There is a shortage of capacity in the Indian education system. India today needs at least 1,500 universities, but has only 370. There are more than 550 million young people in need of education but do not have educational institutes to go to. India also needs around 1,500 IITs, 1,500 management institutes, and 1,500 medical schools. A million good schools are also required. But due to tight regulation by the government, private sector entry into the education sector has been stifled. Equally valid is the opinion that the country’s education system needs greater autonomy along with more inclusive
private sector participation.
Diversity In a country like India, it is also important to ensure equitable distribution and access to skill development opportunities. The employment exchanges are going to be drastically altered and are going to be converted into web-based employment portals. The state governments run them but the Central Government has now got in the mission mode, a programme under the National e-Governance Plan where all the 1,000 odd employment exchanges will be so altered that you can actually give vocational counseling and guidance to make sure that people are employed.
Towards a Knowledge Society The National Knowledge Commissionwas entrusted with the task of preparing a blueprint for reform of our knowledge related institutions and infrastructure. It focused on five key areas of enhancing access to knowledge, reinvigorating institutions where knowledge concepts are imparted, creating a world class environment for creation of knowledge, promoting applications of knowledge for sustained and inclusive growth and using knowledge applications in efficient delivery of public services.
Aligning Skills with Jobs If things progress as they are, India is certain to face a ‘talent gap’- the lack of right skills for the job required - of
“Basically we train corporate with the help of chosen professionals from itself the market so as to understand and deliver the proper need of the aspirants in their own way” Ambarish Datta MD and CEO, BSE
more than 5 million by 2012, as existing educational institutions do not impart employable skills. If training has to deliver job-level skills in an increasingly globalised world, strong industry leadership and engagement with skills training, qualification and assessment framework is essential.
Need for skilled manpower In many countries, building a workforce with higher order skills is an important part of improving the climate for investment, acquiring a competitive edge and generally maintaining an engine of growth. Higher education enhances earnings of the individuals and contributes to economic development and makes a significant contribution to reduction in absolute as well as relative poverty. More than 50 percent of our GDP is supported by service sectors and about 28 percent is through the manufacturing sector.
Soft Skill Programmes In the recent job fairs conducted at the University of Madras, though the employers came up with plenty of openings, the number of graduates who had required qualifications and skills in terms of analytical, verbal and interpersonal skills were only 4 percent. The remaining 96 percent of our graduates are unemployable. Such a high percentage of unemployable graduates awakened us at the university to think about providing the set of required skills to our graduates. Language skills and soft skills have become mandatory for postgraduate students at the University of Madras since 2008-2009 and this is extended to undergraduate students of affiliated colleges.
University-industry collaboration In good times, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have always faced a dearth of qualified, committed manpower, as their capacity to match higher salaries and expenditure on re-skilling and training is limited. Some of the SMEs now see an opportunity to hire good talent that may help in boosting growth. They are more likely to get hands-on training and
“To bridge the employability gap, we have designed a robust WorkForce Certification Model based on dual drivers of Industry and Academia” Sanjay Chandhoke
Senior Vice President, Education Business Group, Centum Learning Limited
“Our focus is on Retail, BFSI, Auto, Telecom, Hospitality and Media & Entertainment. If you look at current market scenario, these are the sunrise industries in India and have huge employability gaps. To bridge the employability gap, we have designed a robust WorkForce Certification Model which is based on dual drivers of Industry and Academia and would prove to be effective even during economic crisis and lower employment opportunities,” said Sanjay Chandhoke, Senior Vice President, Education Business Group, Centum Learning Limited.
Conclusion multi-faceted exposure to a variety of skills and experiences. There may be greater opportunities for taking on responsibility early on and individual input will have a visible impact on the performance of an organisation. Importantly, from a national perspective, SMEs employ far more people per unit of capital deployed than large enterprises. Yet, more often than not, there are no takers for SME jobs even in this day and age of job scarcity. But on the one hand, when India, in the higher education sector and the industrial sector, has worked in isolation from each other for over three decades, our universities over the last ten years have been found building relationships with industry and collaborating with them in designing the requisite curriculum for supplying employable graduates in the industry and business organisations. As industries require conceptual skills, analytical skills, verbal skills, interpersonal skills and technical skills, enhancing employability through imparting required skills has become the imperative of the higher education system. “Besides huge demand of ITI students in big companies like Tata, Mittal, and Birla, Bharat Forge has set up a huge workshop in Khed for forging and they approached us for affiliation after setting up the whole structure spending over seven crores. Not only Bharat Forge, but also Honda, Hyundai, Tata, Toyota have set up their workshops across the country and they are sending their trainers to skill people according to their needs and
demand-driven,” added Sharda Prasad. Further in association with industry, an industry internship programme has been made mandatory so that the graduates can understand the industry atmosphere and the industries can identify the talents and skills in our graduates and employ them when opportunities arise. “Over the years we train about 10000 people every year and provide certification to professionals as well as students. We work closely in association with ASEAN and SAARC countries where people from various parts of the world come and study with our inbound and outbound courses. Basically we train corporate with the help of chosen professionals from itself the market so as to understand and deliver the proper need of the aspirants in their own way. Our programmes, altogether 70, are short term and have been designed as per the demands of the market, including the latest one on Islamic finance. Basically these programmes are meant to erase the skill gap that’s presently is very high in the financial sector and upgrade each professional and newbie in knowing the market’s latest trend and techniques,” said Ambarish Datta, MD and CEO,BSE. The future of industry depends on the availability of trained graduates not only for its day-to-day working but also for innovative approaches on which the growth of industry finally depends. Improving of skills and capabilities as related to the requirements of the society is the basic task of universities.
The National Skill Development Policy, approved by the Cabinet, under the National Skills Development Mission aims at empowering all individuals through improved skills, knowledge and internationally recognised qualifications to enable them access to decent employment and to promote inclusive national growth. Apart from upgrading the existing government ITIs, the government has also launched the Skill Development Initiative Scheme to train one million people in the next five years and then one million every year. Training will be provided in demand-driven, short-term courses, based on modular employable skills and the cost will be borne by the Centre. The Planning Commission has also sanctioned the setting up of 5,000 Skills Development Centres under the Skill Development Initiative. In a move to widen outreach, the Initiative does not require Class eight pass; it has brought the educational qualification down to Class five. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which are engaged in nonformal education, can utilise this opportunity to skill their pupils after Class five. For any training, one should have the ability to read a little. The Prime Minister has announced the establishment of eight IITs, seven IIMs and five Indian Institutes of Science, Education and Research (IISERs) and 30 Central Universities. The outlay for education during the 11th Plan, which runs from the current fiscal to 2012-13, represents a four-fold increase over the previous plan and stands at Rs 2,500 billion. \\ digitalLEARNING / march 2011