Mettl’s assessments have been the biggest filter in our recruitment process. Their platform has helped us reach out to a higher volume our applicant numbers. Mettl constantly keeps innovating on their products and tries to introduce a new aspect to everything.
In the past ten years, the world has dramatically changed. From a stable economy to a volatile economy, Brand centric to customer-centric and from one form of media to a multi-layered mode of communication. We are in so-called–VUCA (Volatile, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world. The complete outlook of the corporates has changed. New disruptive technologies are coming and uprooting the so-called traditional business. Brick and motor retail are giving way to E-commerce.
Innovation and adaptability are no more looked upon as something new. They have become part and parcel of the everyday. Three different generations are working together, with each having its own motivation, learning, and development needs. We are as good as yesterday. Virtual offices are needed for the day with “working from home” as an acceptable norm. Productivity has become more measurable. We now require a SMAC- Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Cloud environment, with each playing a major role in how we engage people and conduct our business. The boundaries are diminishing, and the world has become one big country.
It is unfortunate that with so much happening around us, the institutions/universities/education establishments have not evolved so much. They are, to a greater extent, still following the old traditional ways of teaching and research. While they have mushroomed in the last 10 years, the quality of education imparted has gone down. There are still only handfuls of IIM’s and ISB’s of whose credibility can be vouched for. Most of the institutions have not kept pace with the change and offering students who are far from the requirement. This result in a high level of unemployment.
But what is the root cause? Let us try to understand the complete education system. An author generally takes somewhere between 2 to 3 years in researching and writing the book before it is sent for publication. The publisher takes another year to publish it. By the time it is being taught to the management graduate, the content is already 4 years old. The management graduate studies the content for another 1 to 2 years, depending upon the course he is undergoing before being available for the industry. The complete knowledge of this graduate is 5 to 6 years old, and by this time, the complete technology and the business environment has changed. The dichotomy of the situation is that while the graduate is not found suitable for the role, on the one hand, the industry has a huge shortage of competent professionals.
Over 2 million graduates, postgraduates, and Ph.D. pass every year in our country, while only 25% of them are found to be employable. This percentage further reduces if we talk only about engineers- Only 8% of them are employable. This clearly indicates that there is a gap between what educational institutions are manufacturing (this is with sarcasm because providing higher education is purely dependent on affordability than merit) and what industry requires.
Where is the problem? – The problem lies in only academic knowledge with very little practical knowledge. If this gap is not covered timely, it will lead to a lot of socio-economic problems in times to come. On the one hand, we will have a shortfall of 5 million qualified employees by 2020 with 65% of the country population below the age of 35 years, and on the other hand, the key concerns facing organizations in realizing their business strategy and cutting above the competition is in finding, managing, nurturing and retaining talent. HR’s biggest nightmare is to find talent. While four M’s make a business- Money, Material, Machine, and Men, it is Human Resources, which is the most important. Human capital has become the only sustainable competitive advantage- the distinguishing factor organization can bank upon.
What can educational institutes do? Well, quite a lot. To start with, they will have to invest in research-based education instead of finding off-the-shelf solutions from textbooks. Research-based education not only helps in broadening knowledge base it also abreast oneself on the latest technologies and practices in vogue. They should be followed by industry required curriculum. Students should be given a global view on any issue and sharpens their skills to emerge as the winner through International speakers and building a comprehensive industry interface. The establishments should be industry-led academic institutions supported by leading companies. The aim should be to bridge the skills gap by delivering employable ready professionals from the day graduates enter the industry.
The teaching methodology should also be led by case studies- oriented on live cases delivered by industry professionals. This will make the experience enriching and practical for students. Industry contribution of such case studies will help students develop skills in analytical thinking and reflective judgment by reading and discussing complex, real-life scenarios, in addition to enhancing problem-solving techniques, self-directed, and learning strategies.
This approach will ensure students are not only technically proficient but also exhibit sound awareness of real-world issues. Close interaction with senior industry professionals will also provide students with the first-hand experience for the rigors of the real work environment.
The teaching approach should focus not only on the technical skills but also ensure overall development including, and not limited to presentation skills and soft skills.
In my opinion, the industry and the institutes need to collaborate in imparting industry-lead academic education to young professionals. The industry cannot be sitting on shores and expecting Educational institutes in meeting their requirements. It cannot be a profiteer approach; Instead, it should be a long term approach. If the industry and the education institutes expect the government to assist them, they first need to collaborate before expecting something from the government.
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Originally published April 1 2018, Updated June 26 2020