Today, graduates need to be prepared to be a part of the job market. It is imperative that the college or university trains its students in terms of skill to fit the employment requirements. It also helps that the students take up a course or two to aid them in the process. Currently, automation and artificial intelligence have reshaped the way industry operates and experts feel that educational institutes must pull up their socks and redesign their course structures to prepare their students for the future. If institutions and universities do not take the right steps, the talent crunch and skill gaps in the country will only worsen, against the backdrop of an ever-growing pool of job-seekers.
To find the right talent at the right time is the most obvious problem employers are facing currently. Skill gaps across industries are the reason for the rising unemployment rate even in sectors where there are vacancies. The Indian education system needs to revamp its structure and course curricula to help students future-proof their employability quotient.
The two most important factors that lead to a talent crunch are that the current education system is more examination-oriented than being employment-oriented and in the process, the students don’t realise the objective of their course structure. The work culture of India is another problematic area where the aim is on excelling in what you do. It is crucial to understand that the prospective employees are competing not just among their peers, but with talents across the globe. A candidate’s potential to succeed is not assessed by his or her percentiles and grades on the mark sheet, but by the practical and technical skills. This justifies the significance of employment assessment programmes at various institutes, especially in higher education institutes.
While there are huge investments made by corporates and educational institutes in improving the existing situation of employability in the nation, it depends on the individuals to acquire the skills and explore the opportunities available to them. That said, here are a few ways in which one can work on one’s skills.
As a student and a potential employee, it is crucial that one expands one’s individual knowledge in any given field of interest. A short-term course not only helps you enhance your skills but also provides proper training and exposure, preparing you for the future endeavours. There is a wide range of both online and offline courses recognised by renowned universities available today. They focus on assessment skills and their subsequent development. Hence, enrolling in such courses not only helps the students widen their horizon, but also helps them have an edge over others.
The advantages of an internship cannot be overemphasised as it provides an on-field practical experience, and gives proper industry exposure to candidates, making them ready for their future job roles. They get a glimpse of what would be expected from them by their prospective employers. Internships help students assess their capabilities in their respective fields and their willingness to stick to the same profession while they learn effective ways to perform within an organisational culture. This also helps candidates in shaping their personality as per industry requirements.
With only 15-20% of graduates being employable, it is necessary to assess one’s own employability quotient (EQ) to stay relevant in the market and sustain. Scientific and reliable employability assessment tests can evaluate one’s EQ. These tests even assess one’s strengths, weaknesses and fields of interest and map key problem areas that need to be addressed immediately too. It points out the prerequisite skills that one needs to work on. These assessment programmes facilitate a progress report of one’s improvement over time and instruct on ways to enhance their skills.
Another key aspect of enhancing one’s industry understanding is by engaging in different forums and platforms to build a network and connect with professionals from that field. Enrolling on social media platforms like LinkedIn can help one in networking with relevant people. This can also provide an individual with relevant information, updates and insights about the industry they are going to step-in in the near future.
Research plays a critical role in gaining knowledge and expertise in any industry. Qualitative research on industry verticals, career paths, market scenario, job roles, skill sets, current trends, recent updates and developments can shape confidence and expertise in a student. Also, a person who is well-versed in a subject will have sound knowledge of the industry, the possible competitions and how to improve his or her work style, which will make them a preferred choice of employers.
Armed with these pointers, one can work towards improving one’s skills and gaining a head start in the career journey. One has to take proactive steps to ensure that they are qualified, employable and ready to face their career trajectory.
(The author is with MeritTrac Services,