Monday, June 9, 2008

Employability in IT sector

If I were to break the word Employability it would be employable + ability which directly means the percentage ability of an candidate to get employed in an industry. I have been reading a lot of research papers of employability index pertaining to India and 1 thing really puts me down and that is poor employability ratio of Indians. If you pick today's Education times(An Times of India journal) it is alarming to note that of the 4,50,000 engineering students who pass out only 1/3 are employable in the IT sector. If we look the same from another angle out of 3 candidates only 1 of them is employable. Also something worth mentioning is that out of the 1/3 rd who get into IT companies only 35% of them have proven as a valuable asset to the company and 27% of the remaining had to be thrown out of the company stating different reasons like downsizing etc. This issue is worth analyzing. Employability in the IT Sector is all about Hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are those which engineering colleges for the matter ensure that it gets drilled down into your bodies. Hard skills are all those technical skills which you read in and out and also get it verified and reviewed during exams. What remains ignored otherwise is the soft skills. May be because of the word soft it has remained a soft target or something which gets ignored by most. Our education system needs to be blamed for this lack of interest shown in soft skills. Soft skills include all those Interpersonal skills, Communication skills, Team building and Leadership skills etc. End of the day these all seem to be more important than the rest. Every organization who hires you has to ensure that you become an asset to the organization at the earliest and start being billable to the client. In a survey conducted for most Hiring Managers it has come out openly that a Manager would prefer to hire a person with less Hard skills and more soft skills than a person who has better hard but poor soft ones. Infosys India's largest IT employer has openly said that the only criteria to become a future Infosyian is to have the skill of learnability which is nothing but the judicious mixture of soft and hard skills. Lets take a small glimpse of a day of an IT professional and see where all the soft skills come into picture.

9:00 AM - Reaches offices - Checks mails. (Written Communication is required where in he needs to understand the context of the mail and also reply to them in an effective way)

10: 00 AM - 1:00 PM- Takes time of do complete his primary work. (This also requires some amount of reading skills like reading requirements documents etc)

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM - Takes training/knowledge transfer session for juniors/fellow colleagues (Effective communication, persuassion and listening skills need to be exhibited here)

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM - Takes International calls talking to members of the team who are outside India (Along with communication requires understanding different cultures etc)

If you have seen the case above there is so much need of soft skills that a company cannot ignore to see in a person who is to be hired. And hence these skills are verified during English written exams, GD rounds and Personal Interview rounds.

Clubbing the right amount of soft skills and hard skills makes an candidate fit enough to get into the IT sector as well as succeed in it.

Having said all this lets not play a blame game(like blaming education system and engineering colleges etc) and gear up to increase the employability ratio in India. I have been mentoring a lot of engineering students and my personal experience tells me that most of them know what to say when asked but its the fear and lack of confidence that puts them down. And when I tried analyzing them the reasons were very different and unique which has made me conclude that soft skills improvement needs a personalized approach with proper and right self introspection.

Please feel free to discuss/comment of the above topic. Alternatively you also call me at 9886606366 or mail me to to discuss on this further.


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