In the year 2022, the tech industry witnessed a remarkable surge in entrepreneurs dedicated to facilitating the integration of technology into traditional businesses. This integration spanned various aspects, encompassing communication, manufacturing, and distribution development. However, this promising avenue for tech CEOs and unicorn companies came hand in hand with the challenge of seamless execution.
Numerous business models emerged as a response to the evolving work landscape. These models included full remote work, hybrid setups, and complete on-site operations. Tech and IT organizations proactively tailored their services to accommodate these diverse working preferences, thereby fostering a personalized work environment aligned with individual needs.
An insightful study conducted by CMR shed light on employability trends across different educational institutions. This study not only evaluated how effectively these institutions placed their students within the tech and IT industry but also considered other engineering disciplines. The evaluation was gauged through the prism of the Employability Index, a metric encompassing a specific combination of credentials, competencies, understanding, and personality traits. These attributes collectively enhance a student’s prospects of securing a job in their chosen field.
Dataquest T-School Employability Index Survey 2023
The Employability Index serves as a pivotal metric designed to capture the journey of engineering graduates as they transition into the realm of employment. This comprehensive report plays a vital role in furnishing students with invaluable insights by spotlighting the inherent possibilities of securing employment in their chosen fields of study. Its central aim revolves around pinpointing students who might be susceptible to underemployment, a scenario stemming from a disparity between their educational accomplishments and the nature of their occupation. In essence, the Employability Index not only sheds light on the potential career trajectories aligned with specific educational paths but also serves as a safeguard against mismatches that could lead to suboptimal employment outcomes.
Current Job Market 2023
As we delve into the year 2023, the landscape of employment for engineering graduates is showing promising signs, It’s getting stabilized now. Nevertheless, this positive sentiment is accompanied by a discerning observation regarding certain gaps prevalent in the skill sets of engineering students vis-à-vis the contemporary demands of the industry.
Foremost among these gaps is the apparent deficiency in technical knowledge. This inadequacy can be attributed to the escalating demand for tailored and bespoke solutions within various industries. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, the need for engineers who possess a deep understanding of specialized technical domains has become paramount. The dynamic nature of the modern business landscape necessitates a workforce that can devise and implement intricate solutions to address the unique challenges faced by different sectors. Thus, the call for engineers to possess a robust foundation of technical knowledge has never been more imperative, as this expertise forms the bedrock upon which innovative and effective solutions are constructed. Addressing this deficiency and nurturing a comprehensive technical skill set among engineering students is pivotal to bridging the gap between academic preparation and industry requisites.
Consequently, in response to the identified skill gaps among engineering graduates, companies are recognizing the necessity of allocating the initial three months of their new employees’ tenure to comprehensive training. This training is strategically designed to equip these fresh recruits with the essential skills required to effectively contribute towards achieving the overarching business objectives.
Investing this initial period in training serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it ensures that the new hires possess a robust foundation in the technical knowledge and specialized skills demanded by the industry. By imparting this fundamental proficiency, companies can accelerate the transition of these individuals from academic settings to real-world application, thereby enhancing their overall productivity and value to the organization.
Secondly, this dedicated training phase underscores the commitment of companies towards cultivating a workforce that is attuned to their specific operational requirements. Custom-tailored training initiatives enable employees to swiftly adapt to the company’s unique workflow, technology stack, and industry nuances, thereby reducing the learning curve and bolstering their capacity to contribute meaningfully from the outset.
In essence, by allocating the first three months to intensive training, companies manifest their recognition of the importance of a seamless integration between academic knowledge and industry demands. This proactive approach not only addresses skill deficiencies but also serves as a strategic investment in cultivating a capable and proficient workforce poised to drive business success.
Introduction to Real World of Industry
As a result of active collaboration with the industry, Technical Schools (T-Schools) are undergoing a significant transformation towards adopting a more industry-centric approach. This evolution entails a multifaceted enhancement of current teaching methodologies and, of paramount importance, the provision of a strong foundational education. Through the integration of real-world scenarios directly into the classroom environment, the engagement with industry stakeholders serves as a pivotal catalyst in guiding students towards informed and assured career choices.
The trajectory of T-Schools’ development is distinctly marked by their burgeoning interaction with various sectors of the industry. This symbiotic relationship empowers these institutions to recalibrate their teaching strategies in alignment with the evolving demands of the professional landscape. By fostering a more pronounced industry orientation, T-Schools are poised to equip their students with the skills, knowledge, and perspectives that are directly applicable within real-world work scenarios.
A hallmark of this transformative process is the infusion of practical, real-world scenarios into the learning experience. By interweaving these authentic cases and challenges into the curriculum, students are afforded the unique opportunity to grapple with the complexities and intricacies that mirror the challenges they will face in their careers. This experiential learning approach bolsters their decision-making abilities and cultivates a heightened sense of confidence in choosing and pursuing their desired career paths.
In essence, the synergy between T-Schools and industry stakeholders is revolutionizing the educational landscape. It not only aligns education with the contemporary demands of the professional sphere but also nurtures a new generation of graduates who are not only well-versed in theoretical knowledge but also adept at translating that knowledge into pragmatic solutions. This profound shift ultimately enriches the educational journey, empowers students with career-readiness, and contributes to the overall advancement of both academia and industry.
In the realm of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs), Technical Schools (T-Schools) have displayed a notably heightened level of activity. According to the findings of the DQ-CMR T-School Employability Index Survey for 2023, 100% of T-Schools have forged MoUs with industry partners. This underscores the significant engagement of private T-Schools in collaborative agreements with businesses, indicating a proactive stance towards fostering connections between academia and industry.
Furthermore, the survey reveals that the landscape of T-Schools is marked by a substantial emphasis on nurturing entrepreneurial spirit. Specifically, the study highlights that 94% of the surveyed T-Schools have established incubators to provide support for aspiring entrepreneurs. These incubators function as pivotal intermediaries, facilitating a symbiotic relationship between T-Schools and the business world. This dynamic collaboration allows students and educators alike to tap into the invaluable reservoir of business insights offered by corporate partners who are responsible for the commercialization and expansion of innovative ideas.
The symbiotic relationship forged by these incubators enhances not only the entrepreneurial ecosystem but also the overall educational experience within T-Schools. By providing students with access to practical business guidance and a platform to refine and scale their innovative concepts, these incubators bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. This multifaceted approach cultivates a generation of students who are not only equipped with technical prowess but also possess a nuanced understanding of how their ideas can manifest in the real world.
In essence, the findings of the DQ-CMR T-School Employability Index Survey for 2023 underscore the pronounced industry engagement of private T-Schools through MoUs and the substantial presence of entrepreneurial support mechanisms within the educational landscape. This convergence between academia and industry not only enriches the learning journey for students but also contributes to the advancement of innovative ideas and the overall growth of the economy.
Current Year’s Hiring Plan
HR managers are gearing up for a substantial increase in campus recruitment activities, with plans to conduct 4% more recruitment drives compared to the previous year. This proactive surge in campus hiring highlights the growing importance of tapping into the young talent pool emerging from educational institutions. The intent behind this significant expansion is to strategically acquire fresh graduates who possess the latest skills, perspectives, and potential, thus fortifying the organizations with a dynamic and innovative workforce. However, it seems to be getting stabilized now as it increased in year 2022 by 61%.
In the contemporary landscape, a profound transformation has reshaped the very essence of work, signifying an imminent disruption in the traditional workplace paradigm. This shift is indicative of a fundamental evolution in how we conduct our tasks, collaborate with colleagues, and engage in activities such as meetings and presentations. Naturally, this transformation has extended its influence on the realm of recruitment processes as well.
The mode and dynamics of work have undergone a metamorphosis, prompting companies to adapt their recruitment strategies accordingly. Evidently, more than half of companies have embraced the trend of virtual interviews, reflecting a decisive pivot towards harnessing technology to facilitate the hiring process. This adjustment not only aligns with the contemporary work landscape but also demonstrates the agility and innovation required to select top talents from diverse geographical locations.
Furthermore, the concept of work has expanded to encompass a significant proportion of remote positions. Nearly half of all companies are now offering work-from-home options, underscoring the flexibility demanded by the modern workforce. This adaptation caters to the changing preferences and needs of employees who value the autonomy to balance their professional and personal lives more seamlessly.
Research Methodology and Key Outcomes
The T-School Employability Index Survey for the year 2023 witnessed the active participation of a multitude of esteemed educational institutions, encompassing prestigious National Institutes of Technology (NITs), Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs), as well as both private and government-affiliated institutes. This comprehensive participation from such reputable institutions underscores the significance and relevance of the survey in gauging the employability landscape within the technical education domain.
By involving a diverse array of institutions, the survey comprehensively captures insights from both established centres of technical excellence and emerging educational entities. This broad spectrum of participation enhances the survey’s credibility and validity, as it encompasses a wide range of perspectives including student outcomes.
The engagement of these institutions signifies a collective commitment towards enhancing the employability of technical graduates and aligning their education with the contemporary demands of the industry. Through their active involvement, these institutes contribute to the ongoing discourse on employability trends, skill development, and the evolving interface between academia and the professional world.
In essence, the participation of prestigious NITs, IIITs, and other private and government institutes in the T-School Employability Index Survey for 2023 reinforces the collaborative effort to foster a well-prepared and industry-ready technical workforce, ultimately advancing the employability landscape in India.
The T-School Employability Index Survey demonstrated an impressive geographical coverage by ensuring the participation of at least one T-school from each of India’s major states. This approach ensured a representative sample encompassing the diverse regions of the country.
Remarkably, the survey observed a notable surge in participation from T-schools located in the southern region of India. This region emerged as a frontrunner, contributing to over 60% of the respondent institutes. The significant participation from the southern region underscores the enthusiasm and engagement of educational institutions in this area to contribute their insights and perspectives to the survey.
This distribution of participation not only enhances the survey’s credibility and comprehensive outlook but also signifies the collaborative effort of T-schools from various states to collectively address the dynamics of employability and the evolving landscape of technical education in India. The broad geographic representation captures a multifaceted view of employability trends and practices, reflecting the nuances and variations across different regions of the country.
The process of data collection for the T-School Employability Index Survey followed a systematic and rigorous approach. A standardized questionnaire, consisting of more than 20 well-defined questions, served as the primary tool for gathering data. These questions were carefully designed to capture essential insights from the participating T-Schools, enabling the DQ-CMR team to construct a comprehensive and detailed overview.
T-Schools were provided with sufficient time to complete and submit their responses, either through an online platform or in person. This flexibility ensured that institutions could engage in the data submission process according to their convenience.
In alignment with the principles of market research ethics, the CMR EduTech Practice meticulously examined the contributions for both completeness and data accuracy. This scrutiny was further fortified by a random cross-check process, where over 30% of the submissions underwent additional verification to ensure the integrity of the data.
To enhance the depth of understanding and ensure accuracy, CMR Analysts went the extra mile by reaching out to key stakeholders associated with the T-Schools. These discussions provided an opportunity for comprehensive conversations, offering insights into the intricate nuances of the placements facilitated by the T-Schools.
In essence, the entire process of data collection adhered to rigorous standards and ethical considerations. The utilization of a standardized questionnaire, careful verification processes, and direct engagement with key stakeholders collectively contributed to the creation of a robust and comprehensive picture of the employability landscape within T-Schools.
Following the collection of quantitative inputs from diverse T-Schools and HRs, the data underwent a meticulous analysis process. This analysis aimed to distil meaningful insights from the collected information. To facilitate a fair and insightful comparison among the participating institutions, a process of normalization was implemented. This transformation involved converting absolute data into relative data, allowing for a more equitable evaluation of various parameters.
The normalization process is crucial for ensuring that the comparison of data isn’t skewed by differing scales or magnitudes among different institutions. By converting absolute data into relative values, the analysis becomes more focused on the relative performance and trends of the T-Schools and HRs, rather than solely on the raw numerical values.
This analytical approach enables a comprehensive evaluation of the data, and a deeper understanding of the comparative strengths, weaknesses, and trends present across the participating institutions. It allows for a fair and balanced assessment of their respective performances, providing valuable insights into the employability landscape within the technical education sector.
The data sourced from HR professionals proved to be particularly insightful, as it shed light on the current state of the job market in terms of available opportunities. The input gathered from HRs included their recruitment plans for the upcoming year, the attributes they prioritize in candidates during the hiring process, preferred cities for placements, methods used to identify suitable candidates, organizational challenges encountered, and considerations for employee well-being.
To quantitatively assess the performance of each participating T-School, a multi-dimensional analysis was conducted. Each parameter was assigned a specific weight based on predefined criteria. The data collected for each parameter was then processed to generate a final score. These scores were subsequently combined, factoring in the pre-assigned weights for each parameter. This comprehensive approach yielded an overall employability index for each T-School, representing a holistic evaluation of their capabilities and contributions.
By employing this methodology, the participating institutions were ranked based on their overall scores. The institution with the highest overall score claimed the top position. The T-Schools’ employability index played a pivotal role in this ranking process, facilitating categorization by segments and regions. This holistic evaluation allowed for a nuanced understanding of the employability landscape, ultimately enabling comparisons and rankings that reflect the institutions’ performance and contributions within their respective contexts.
When HR professionals engage in the candidate selection process, they primarily prioritize grade points as a preliminary criterion. This is followed closely by an assessment of the candidate’s overall academic background. However, it’s noteworthy that numerical aptitude is not considered a highly favoured skill for selection. The rationale behind this lies in the fact that modern software can now perform mathematical calculations swiftly and accurately, rendering extensive numerical prowess less critical in many roles.
Interestingly, an increasingly pivotal trait sought by HR managers during the selection process is the presence of an entrepreneurial mindset. This attribute holds substantial importance as organizations place a premium on individuals who display the ability to think creatively, embrace innovation, and exhibit a proactive approach towards solving challenges. The emphasis on an entrepreneurial mindset reflects the dynamic nature of the modern job landscape, where adaptability, creative problem-solving, and a willingness to take initiative are highly valued traits.
In the process of locating qualified applicants, job portals emerge as the most preferred method followed by college recruitment. This rise in enrolment highlights a growing interest in technical education and its alignment with industry demands.
The survey also reveals that companies predominantly rely on their own job portals for hiring purposes, as opposed to other external job portals. This preference for internal portals suggests that companies are keen on leveraging their own platforms to identify and attract potential candidates.
Comparing the effectiveness of hiring from a company’s internal job portal and external job sites, a notable discrepancy is observed. This indicates that companies perceive their internal job portals to be more effective in sourcing suitable candidates compared to utilizing external job platforms.
Interestingly, despite references being a standard inclusion on employment application forms, they emerge as the least favoured source for hiring and integrating individuals into the organization. This finding implies that while references provide valuable insight, companies prioritize other avenues, such as internal portals and college recruitment, for identifying and onboarding new talent.
When HR Managers assess candidates for recruitment, a prominent factor they consider is the candidate’s potential to deliver high performance in the future. This forward-looking perspective highlights the emphasis on identifying individuals who not only meet the current job requirements but also exhibit the qualities and capabilities needed to excel and contribute significantly to the long run.
Interestingly, in the present labour market landscape, the most crucial factor in candidate evaluation is “value for money.” This term encapsulates the idea that candidates should offer substantial expertise and capabilities in relation to their compensation, reflecting a pragmatic and efficient approach to talent acquisition.
Moreover, candidates possessing a strong foundation of competence, along with well-developed interpersonal, behavioural, and positive attitudes, hold a distinct advantage. These qualities are deemed vital in today’s work environment, where collaboration, communication, adaptability, and a positive mindset are highly valued. This preference for candidates who possess both technical proficiency and well-rounded interpersonal skills highlights the growing recognition that successful performance relies not only on technical acumen but also on the ability to effectively interact and collaborate with colleagues.
Conversely, candidates who excel solely in technical prowess but face challenges in interpersonal and intrapersonal skills find themselves at a relative disadvantage. This acknowledgment underscores the importance of a holistic skill set that encompasses technical expertise as well as the ability to work harmoniously with others and maintain a positive approach.
HR managers encounter a multitude of challenges in their roles, with the foremost obstacle being the assurance of having the necessary skill sets available among the pool of candidates. Ensuring that the prospective employees possess the skills required to effectively contribute to the organization’s goals is a critical concern, as the workforce’s competence directly impacts the company’s success.
Balancing the imperative of acquiring skilled talent with the financial constraints of the organization underscores the complexity of modern HR management. Addressing these challenges often necessitates creative and strategic approaches to recruitment, employee development, and resource allocation. Finding ways to maximize the return on investment and optimize talent acquisition processes while managing costs is an ongoing endeavour for HR professionals.
In essence, the responsibility to secure the right skill sets while working within budget constraints shapes the dynamic landscape that HR managers navigate. Tackling these challenges effectively requires a blend of strategic planning, innovative approaches, and a keen understanding of the organization’s goals and resources.
HR managers are increasingly prioritizing the physical health as their topmost objective in the pursuit of ensuring the well-being of their employees.
Following the emphasis on student health, HR managers are also keenly focused on promoting transparency and work-life balance among their teams. This is particularly relevant in the context of many businesses adopting remote or hybrid working arrangements. The need to navigate the blurred boundaries between work and personal life has become paramount. Facilitating work-life balance ensures that employees can effectively manage their professional responsibilities without compromising their personal well-being and family commitments.
By addressing these priorities, HR managers are proactively working towards cultivating a harmonious and thriving workplace culture. Investing in student leadership development and advocating for work-life balance not only positively impacts the individual employees but also contributes to the overall success and sustainability of the organization.
In the competitive landscape of top firms, the pursuit of exceptional talent and highly sought-after qualities is a constant endeavour. While a plethora of technical and non-technical skills contribute to high-paying employment and a successful career, certain attributes hold a dominant precedence. Within this context, several skills stand out as particularly in demand, and these skills are key areas of focus when preparing students for placements.
Prominent among these skills are coding and software development, networking proficiency, algorithm design, cloud computing expertise, user interface design, familiarity with online frameworks, software engineering proficiency, video production capabilities, audio production skills, knowledge of blockchain technology, proficiency in augmented and virtual reality, and expertise in machine learning.
For institutions that may not offer these skills as part of their primary engineering streams, there is a valuable option to integrate them as certificate courses. This approach allows students to acquire supplementary skills that align with the evolving demands of the job market. By offering these focused and specialized courses, institutions can equip their graduates with a broader skill set that enhances their employability and readiness to meet the expectations of top firms.
Incorporating these emerging skills into educational programs, whether as core components or supplementary certificates, demonstrates an institution’s responsiveness to industry trends and its commitment to providing students with the tools they need to excel in their careers. This dynamic approach ensures that graduates are well-prepared to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of job opportunities and meet the demands of top firms across various sectors.
Mohanty is Head, User Research Practice at CMR
and Srivastava is Senior Manager (Research) at CMR