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Unemployable Indian Graduates Viewed as ‘Rare Talents’ by Singapore Government and Employers?


During my reading, I happened to come across this India Skills Report 2014 published by Wheebox and Peoplestrong in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry, which according to the report is “India’s premier business association with a direct membership of over 7,500 organisations from the private as well as public sectors, including SMEs and MNCs, and an indirect membership of over 83,000 companies from around 380 national and regional sectoral associations.”

Here are some key points:

Page 41: Only one-third of educated Indians is employable! “Out of about 100,000 candidates who appeared for Wheebox Employability Skill Test (WEST) across domains only 33.95% were found employable. This means about 2/3 rd of our skill pool is not fit to have a job.”

Page 47: Employability decreases with age! “Maximum numbers of employable resources are present in the age group of 18-21 years. Out of total number of candidates in the age group of 18-21 years who appeared for the test about 39% scored more than 60% and hence were part of the employable pool. They were closely followed by the age group 22-25 years, where out of the total pool of candidates (in this age group) who appeared for the TEST 29.11 % crossed benchmark score of 60%.Finally for the age group 26-29 Years, the scores secured by candidates in WEST suggest that only 20.38% of the people in age group 26-29 years are employable. Author’s note: The age of most Indian FTs around you is at least 30. So this tells you what quality you can expect in them.

Page 67: Indian education system is archaic: The Indian Education system is perhaps the most criticized system in this world. Not only is the curriculum termed Archaic, the method of teaching have been deemed as ineffective. Even the Prime Minister has raised concern over this matter “We must recognize that too many of our higher educational institutions are simply not up to the mark. Too many of them have simply not kept abreast with the rapid changes that have taken place in the world around us in recent years, still producing graduates in subjects that the job market no longer requires. It is a sobering thought for us that not one Indian university figures in the top 200 universities of the world today.” he said.

Here are some more data from the references cited in the report:

1. The National Employability Report on Engineering Graduates, released by Aspiring Minds, an employability solutions company, last week shows that out of the five lakh (5 lakh = 500,000) engineers who graduate from various engineering colleges across the country every year, only 17 per cent are fit for the IT services sector. The report was based on a sample of more than 55,000 engineering students from 250 colleges chosen from the length and breadth of the country. “I have come across engineering candidates who cannot even type!” said Kapil Bhatia, Head, HR Department, Vinsol at the conclave. “The least
that you expect of a software engineer is that he is comfortable with machines,” he remarked. Most of the candidates Bhatia interviews on a regular basis are said to be clueless about programming. “When we ask candidates to write programmes, they say they have learned it in their first semester and have  forgotten all about it! These skills require continuous practice which institutes are not providing,” he said.

“Engineers have to interact with customers. I have come across candidates who cannot draft a straight mail in English that needs to be sent to their customers,” said Puneet Kumar Pandey, Senior Director, Talent Management Group, HCL Technologies. [Source: Link]

2. According to a recent report by Aspiring Minds, which is an employee assessment service provider, only 17.45 per cent of technical graduates in the country are readily employable. It means that the rest, that is, 82.55 per cent, engineering graduates in India are unemployable. Rajeev Kabra, director and CEO, Cognitel, who deals with consulting in the engineering sector. Kabra shared his concern about the old syllabus that the engineering colleges in the country follow. He said, “I am an engineer myself. I see that the syllabus followed in the engineering colleges today is not much different from what I have learnt about two decades back. This is where the engineering students in India lag behind. They are educated but not employable. [Source: Link]

3. “I studied economics, accounting, trade, corporate tax planning and industrial law for three years. But I was still clueless when I graduated,” said Dubey, 22. “All my education was bookish and theoretical.” said Dubey. Dubey’s deflating discovery mirrors the experience of most of the 3.2 million Indians who receive undergraduate degrees each year. The Confederation of Indian Industry says that (only) 25 percent of technical graduates and 15 percent of other graduates can be readily employed in the jobs that the recent boom has generated in the telecommunications, banking, retail, health care and information technology sectors. “The stark reality is that our education system churns out people, but industry does not find them useful,” said T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the prime minister, addressing a recent conference here in the capital on linking education to employability. “The necessary development of
skills is missing in our education.” [Source: Link]

Here is one from The Wall Street Journal on the same topic:

India projects an image of a nation churning out hundreds of thousands of students every year who are well educated, a looming threat to the better-paid middle-class workers of the West. Their abilities in math have been cited by President Barack Obama as a reason why the U.S. is facing competitive challenges.

Yet 24/7 customers’ experience tells a very different story. Its increasing difficulty finding competent employees in India has forced the company to expand its search to the Philippines and Nicaragua. Most of its 8,000 employees are now based outside of India.

Both companies (Tata and Wipro) sent teams of employees to India’s approximately 3,000 engineering colleges to assess the quality of each before they decided where to focus their campus recruiting efforts. Tata says 300 of the schools made the cut; for Wipro, only 100 did. [Link]

Conclusion: Two-thirds of Indian graduates are found unemployable in their own country but our Singapore government views them as rare talents. Note also that the above data is only of graduates. If you include the number of Indians coming in without any degree (or with fake degrees), the number of Indians fit to be hired should be much lower than the 20%-30% shown in most surveys above. It is high time our government took this issue seriously and provides jobs to educated and deserving Singaporeans rather than fake and incompetent foreigners.

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