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Job Supply Deficit in India

India is heading for a job supply deficit says the International Herald Tribune (article here). The paper quotes a NASSCOM survey to show that only one in four engineering graduates is considered employable. The reasons have been open secrets for the past decade: lack of depth in technical knowledge, lack of English speaking skills, lack of team skills. Over the past few years, I’ve had the occasion to stand in on and conduct several interviews for engineers in India’s IT capitals, Hyderabad and Bangalore. What I noticed first hand was that they could be broken up into categories based on types of ignorance:

1. Ignorance of technological basics (such as a software engineer who fails to differentiate between an OS and a programming language. Or who doesn’t know what is a Software Development Lifecycle).

2. Ignorance of latest developments in their specific technical arena (While those in this category are sound on the basics, they are not aware of the latest versions of the very development platforms on which they work and earn their living, or of any of the technological changes in the field. Inexcusable in the Information age).

3. Ignorance of Business applications of technology: These are those young engineers who cant tell what is the role of the software they’re developing in the client’s business, or even what is the very business function that it addresses.

4. Ignorance of People skills: These are those brilliant minds that know not what to say and where. That are totally tongue tied with strangers and turn mute if forced into a group that contains members of the opposite sex. Social inhibition, conservative atmosphere of Indian society and lack of training in leadership skills at school level all contribute to this.

5. Ignorance of social etiquette: Coming to a corporate meeting unshaven while wearing bathroom slippers maybe “cool” but never “acceptable”.

6. Lack of adaptability: Cannot adapt to change of town, much less change of country. If based abroad, they never try to integrate or embrace the local culture.

7. Trend chasing: Running after whichever technology is hot this season and doing a course for certification in it, irrespective of aptitude and career plan. Examples include Y2K, e-commerce, .net, Cold Fusion…the list goes on…most prominent is SAP consultancy. Every dissatisfied IT engineer wants to do a SAP course since SAP implementation jobs are high paying whereas it contributes little to the resume in the long-run.

8. Functional Cocoons: This category of techies has such a high degree of specialisation that they never invest in enhancing their skills.

9. Directionless jobhopping: Frequently changing jobs for no reason except higher pay. No focus on career planning or personal development is noticeable.

10. Poor language skills: Inability to describe effectively even the projects that they’ve completed as students, in comprehensible English, or even in their mother tongues.

These 10 ghosts of sins past haunt the Indian IT industry. The ten heads of the demon that ferment and grow in uninspiring Indian IT factories.

We need a change, we sure do.

2 responses to “Job Supply Deficit in India”

  1. M B Sivaramakrishnan says:

    Dear Mr. Karthikeya,

    Nice to read your article.

    I am HR consultant in Chennai and I too have encountered similar problems while recruiting people.

    I have addressed few colleges also, and despite the employment boom, these institutions are yet to wake up to make their students EMPLOYABLE.

    The time has come for all the stakeholders, viz.. The institution, industry, parents, students take a firm step, before it is too late.

    Keep in touch,

    Regards,

    M B Sivaramakrishnan
    hr4nation@gmail.com, hrs@hr4nation.com

  2. tushar says:

    Hi Karth, nice to see you contributing. Hope to interact with you in cyberspace.

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