Engineers under-engineer employment :(

I read this news item a couple of days back in Hindustan Times. Am yet to recover from the shock. Disbelief, really.

Way back in the seventies, even in the early to mid eighties, if you were a graduate in arts, science or commerce with a first division (above 60%), some decent looks and an ability to communicate, you were assured of a job. May not be a MNC job or a fancy designation as the youngsters look forward to today, but you were able to start somewhere and build your career and future from there. The job opportunities were in sales, accounting, manufacturing, administration, banking, insurance, railways, PSUs…or you could join your family business and build from there. Of course there would be mid course corrections in your career including opting for higher education, pursuing an MBA from the best of business schools, leaving for greener pastures, all leading to better career options and a more secure future. The foundation for a better career and a secure future were based on education, hard work, willingness to relocate, being aware of opportunities and seizing them, work ethics, savings and a positive attitude.

Over the last two decades, this situation has changed dramatically. A degree cannot get you a job any more, with few exceptions. The kind of profiles that I have seen over the last many years from boys and girls who have applied for various positions across levels and industries, are mostly MBAs, Engineers, Engineer MBAs, Post Graduates, and some even PhDs. Very few graduates. Unfortunately one common thread cutting across these boys and girls, irrespective of their qualifications and certifications who came to attend interviews, was that most of them were not employable. They were not employable not because their degrees and certifications were fake but almost all of them lacked basic understanding of the work involved, poor communication skills and had done little or no homework or preparation for the interview. Many times we could not fill in positions because of this reason. I would rather manage the work with the team sharing the work, and not have an incapable person managing work. This experience of mine, has been validated innumerable times by my friends, colleagues, HR professionals, recruiting agencies across a spectrum of industries, levels and functions.

When I read the news item basis a survey done by Aspiring Minds on employability of engineers across the nation, I was able to correlate the 80% of engineers in India still unemployable with my experience of having interviewed hundreds of such boys and girls over the last decade or so.

Most of these engineers, MBAs and post graduates have paid their fees with a lot of difficulty, their parents have many times sold their land or house to pay the fees or taken a loan. But none of these courses lead to employment. The other thing to note with most of them is the fact that they have done these programs not because of their choice or passion for the subject but because of peer pressure or family pressure or someone known, told them to do so. Their heart has never been in the program. I don’t need to highlight the quality of teaching and teachers, infrastructure in professional colleges, and the money making institutions where these students have done their programs. With no one to care for these students and their future, when they come to face the interviews, they are absolutely unprepared for the realities of life. And then the unpleasant consequences for them and their families.

While the above scenario is sad and true, a lot of initiatives are being taken by several individuals and institutions who help prepare these students by providing them with the necessary wherewithal to not just face interviews but also chart a career path. Would also like to appeal to everyone reading this article to atleast mentor one student from the underprivileged sections of the society to not opt for an Engineering course unless they have the aptitude for it. Share your experiences and help them make a good choice and every time you come across graduates, share with them your work experience and what it really means to be job ready.

Hope to see a better survey report in at least the next five years…

Am sharing the link below of the news item Over 80% of engineers in India still unemployable.

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