There are no speeches and people are not divided into speakers and participants; ‘Conveners' simply facilitate dialogue
How do you see the talent availability in the BPO industry and specifically for Genpact?
For a company that is looking to add 9 to 10 thousand people this year, employability of people coming out of college is a key issue. Most graduates are unable to perform basic functions that you would assume they have been trained for, be it finance-related or business language related. Poor quality of training and bookish curriculum mean that you just cannot rely on the skills coming out of college, and hence in-house training is at the core of our business strategy.
What is the root cause of this mismatch?
Most colleges, including some of the finest in the country, provide what I would call ‘bookish education’. Students land in courses like commerce and accounting with absolutely no idea of how the world works, are then taught subjects in a purely theoretical setting with very little practical exposure and end a up in jobs a few years later lacking basic understanding of concepts.
At the end of the day, colleges have become just an instrument for talent filtration – based on reputation and marks.
What could companies/industry consortiums do to address any issues related to talent shortage?
There is a whole host of IT and BPO companies (including Genpact) who are working with schools in improving curriculum and even providing monetary grants for capacity building. However, there isn’t sufficient accountability in the system for industry to dole out large grants…also the scale of the problem is beyond the disparate efforts of a few corporates. Ultimately, we cannot solve this without active interventions from government and public institutions.
What do you see as practical solutions to this problem?
For a start, we need to create an environment where teachers are paid better. I have sat on the boards of colleges and there is loads of financial regulation on colleges that make it unviable for them to pay their teachers better. Also, regulatory strictures need to be eased to allow corporates and retired professionals to teach in colleges.
A fair amount of deregulation is needed in higher education that will encourage public-private partnership. There is enough research out there on the various models through which this can be incorporated. Its time the powers-that-be picked a model and went ahead to creating a scalable solution.
Finally, not everybody needs to go to college. There is huge opportunity in the skilled workman sphere and its time we studied examples like that of Germany, with its dual education system and emphasis on apprenticeships, to ensure efficient allocation of talent.