Almost every industry appreciates the new normal culture of working from home. In fact, many sectors are considering making a partial or permanent shift to this culture. As a result of this trend, industries will be able to access resources from around the world. Hence, given the current situation, it is critical for Indian engineering institutes to prepare for the future.
A new study by DQ and CMR around employability shows how different educational institutes performed when it came to securing placement for their students amid the raging pandemic. This was measured by the Employability Index, which means possessing a set of qualifications, skills, understandings, and personal attributes that make students likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations.
The T-School Employability Index Survey 2021
Unemployment refers to those individuals who are employable and actively looking for work but unable to find one. Those who are working but are not in the right job are also included in this category. On the other hand, we frequently hear companies complain that there are “no competent” candidates or that the available potential employees lack the necessary skills.
So why is there a chasm? It occurs when a worker’s skill set does not match the skills required in the available jobs. According to our study, 30% of the employers say that skills shortage is the primary reason for vacancies in organisations and a huge percentage of graduates fall short of industry standards. Because of the gap between existing and desired skill sets, the present employability rate is low.
Many firms ascribe the lack of employability to problems in our educational system because they spend the first three months of their new employees’ training on skills essential to accomplish business objectives.
Employability is about a broader range of talents and traits that will allow you to be successful throughout your working life, and not just landing a job. Employability is defined as the ability to be suitable for paid work. So, we have tried to look into the broader picture on which are the top institutions that can provide new grads a suitable runway to take off their career.
30% of employers believe that skills shortage is the main reason for vacancies. The gap between the existing and desired skill sets has led to low employability rate.
Introduction to real-world industry
T-Schools can attune themselves to industry needs through industry involvement, by improving current teaching approaches and, most importantly, providing students with basic training and exposure. Industry participation adds a layer of realism to classroom learning, allowing students to confidently choose their career paths.
MoU signed with top companies
Private T-Schools are more proactive, and they outnumber public T-Schools in terms of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). According to the DQ-CMR T-School Employability Index Survey 2021, 95% of the T-Schools have an MoU signed with an industry partner.
In addition, 89% of the T-Schools polled had established an incubation center to help entrepreneurs. The incubators, by acting as a link between T-Schools and industry, are able to provide students and faculty members with business feedback from commercial partners who are in charge of scaling up and selling the ideas.
As the COVID-19 situation has made it challenging for graduates to find work, students and parents are even more driven by the ability to get a job rather than the reputation of a university.
T-Schools can align with industry needs through industry involvement, by improving teaching approaches and providing students with basic training and exposure.
While self-learning can be difficult for students to adopt, some institutions have gone to great lengths to provide students with intelligent and easy-to-understand study materials. Institutes have created an online platform where instructors can upload video lectures for students to view and learn at their own pace. Institutions have also administered periodic tests/exams through video calls to ensure progressive learning.
The post-COVID-19 period emphasises creativity and innovation abilities and is fundamentally a learning environment that welcomes diverse ideas. Engineering education is on the cusp of a dramatic transformation in order to better prepare students for the world of tomorrow.
In the post-pandemic phase, on an average, 542 students per T-School opted for campus placements in 2020 while 90 companies visited T-Schools for recruitment.
The tech job market
An average of 542 students per T-School opted for campus placements in the year 2020, while an average of 90 companies visited T-Schools for recruitment. On average, 447 students secured jobs via campus placements, while the average salary package in 2020 remained at Rs 4.30 lakh per annum. The average maximum salary offered stood at Rs 20.68 lakh per annum.
Key skills to get a job
HR looks at grade points followed by communication skills while selecting candidates. Numerical aptitude is the skill that is the least preferred criterion for selection by HR as nowadays numerical computations are readily performed by software. The entrepreneurial mindset is another critical skill sought by HR managers.
HR managers are facing various challenges in the ongoing pandemic. The topmost is ensuring the availability of skillsets as per the organisation’s requirement.
Source for finding the right candidate
Colleges are the most preferred source to find a suitable candidate followed by HR consultancy firms. The internal job posting is another vital source for hiring a suitable candidate from within the existing employee base. From the survey, it has been found that a company relies mostly on its own job portal rather than external job portals, with a huge variation in recruitment between these two sources. While references are always mentioned in the recruitment forms, they are the least preferred source for employment and absorption in the company.
Cultural fit over technical knowhow
The cultural fit of candidates is the main consideration of HR managers, and soft skills are the most sought-after skills for them. A candidate with basic skills/competencies but with strong interpersonal skills, behavioral skills, and a positive attitude is preferred over a highly technical-skilled individual but with poor interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.
Challenges for HR in the pandemic
HR managers are facing various challenges in the ongoing pandemic. The topmost is ensuring the availability of skillsets as per the organisation’s requirements. The next challenge is providing optimum output with a limited budget, which also features as one of the major areas of concern.
How to ensure employee well-being
To ensure employee well-being, the priority focus area for HR managers is improving the leadership style of graduates who join as employees. Next to it is providing more and more opportunities for the development of these new employees. Ensuring their work-life balance is another area of focus.
The way forward
Due to the pandemic, T-Schools had a difficult year in 2020. Some institutes were able to rapidly handle the challenges with the help of technology, while others took longer to adjust to the new normal. One of the main issues faced by the educational system is that the teachers’ approach is to just teach courses theoretically, according to a prescribed curriculum. It is critical to recognise that an educator’s job extends beyond subject teaching; generating employable students is just as important an academic goal as gaining domain knowledge. Consider this: how many teachers are familiar with the industry? Every teacher can get associated with relevant industries to gain a meaningful grasp of their requirements.
This practice has the potential to improve teachers’ perspectives on their teaching methods since they will be able to focus more on the skills that companies seek at the time of placement.
By Sugandha Srivastava, Manager (Research) – Industry Consulting Group, CMR