Only 64 per cent of employers said they are “somewhat satisfied” with the current engineering graduates
Different academic and professional preferences are changing the way organisations create jobs and employ talent
The Hindustan Times reported that a U.S. student, Ugbaad Kenyan, has been awarded a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Urdu in Lucknow. Kenyan, who has a keen interest to study the political history between India and Pakistan, hopes that the eight-week programme will enrich his knowledge and insight about the region. It will not be too far-fetched to argue that Kenyan’s academic choice is rather unconventional today at a time when the global job market continues to shrink and the talent pool seeks to learn market-ready skills to get a job and stay employed. Kenyan made the choice purely out of his passion for knowing about the political history between India and Pakistan. Job market trends indicate that it might exactly be these unconventional experiences that will help Kenyan secure a cushy job in the future.
What will define employability in the coming times?
It is no secret that the most demanded skills or “hot skills” in the employment market are cyclical and employment trends determine skilling preferences of present and future talent. Before the IT revolution transformed the employment market with high-paying salaries and swanky offices, core engineering disciplines featured in the list of hot skills. Lately, there is a shortage of core discipline skills across all economies and the supply gap is swaying the balance back toward “hard” skills in the market.
Engineering graduates in India are falling short of professional, core employability and communication skills, according to a 2011 survey by World Bank. The survey “Employability and Skill Set of Newly Graduated Engineers in India” stated a majority of employers in India are not satisfied with the skills of newly-hired engineering graduates. Only 64 per cent of employers said they are “somewhat satisfied” with the current engineering graduates. About 3.9 per cent of employers rate the skills as “not at all satisfied” while 16.1 per cent are “not very satisfied.”
USA Today, a leading daily publication, conducted a country-wide analysis to understand the state of skill demand in the US market in 2013. The analysis reveals that hard skills are in short supply in the US market especially in the discipline of machines and core engineering. A Forbes article states that some of the most trending skills of today, such as social media marketing, may cease to be in demand in the near future. In many ways, this holds true for many of the economies in the developed and emerging markets, including India.
Some market experts argue that two critical aspects of professional capabilities will likely shape employment potential of talent in the coming times.
Employers will seek adaptability, not specialisation
A few months ago, People Matters published an article titled, “Skilled or adaptable: what does your resume say?” arguing that progressive employers look for diversity of experience rather than specialisation. It is important that existing and prospective talent gain exposure to varied experiences so that their resume becomes more interesting. For example, a resume that highlights that the candidate is an “IT administrator and an avid photographer” will attract more interest than one that says, “10 years of PMP experience.”
In the Indian market, workforce reports suggest that experienced IT professionals are likely to face mid-career crisis in the next two to three years with opportunities drying up owing to their super specialised professional experience.
Unconventional skills will be in demand
As the demand for conventional skills drop, organisations are witnessing a number of unconventional applications for job positions. The IIJI-TeamLease Employment Outlook report for January-March 2013 reveals that there is a large demand for unconventional skills in the employment market. Employers are looking to rope in talented communicators, social-media natives, and creative thinkers to devise business and marketing strategies despite them not having any relevant experience.
As adaptable and unconventional capabilities will drive employment potential in the future, it is equally important for existing talent to work towards gaining new and diverse experiences to be able to hold on to meaningful jobs.