Every year, India adds 12 million youth to its labour pool. We do not see creation of a comparable number of jobs to absorb these new minds. So, many remain unemployed or under-employed. Nearly 20% of our people who have the minimum qualification of being a graduate do not have a job. Scarcity of employment opportunities could create a range of social problems for our country.
And at the same time, corporate India is not happy with the quality of talent available in the market for them. This is a paradoxical situation; reflects the intensity of mismatch between the skills of our well-qualified people and the requirements of the employers. How does an enterprise deal with this?
Skilling is a must!
Right from our schools to our universities, we have to take a hard look at the system, the content and the quality of our educators. However, a corporate cannot do this by itself. Companies are trying to counter this situation either by running the new employees through their own finishing schools or imparting customised learning programmes as a part of the curriculum at the academic institute they hire from. These skilling initiatives have been undertaken by large corporates and are serving them well.
Small and medium sized companies have challenges in conceptualising a program that works for them. Moreover, it’s not very pragmatic for an organisation to run such a program when it needs to hire less than 50 freshers a year. Our Government has a few schemes which are yet to find high level of acceptance among the enterprises.
Since job-ready talent is not available, companies have to run a program that gets them the best from the available pool. They need to develop a new set of hiring benchmarks for this specific program. They can use a staffing agency who can recruit such talent on its payroll and depute to them for a fixed period of time. They can train these freshers hired on the payroll of the staffing agency and continuously assess their readiness to take on the challenges of an entry level job. Those who shine in this program can become full-time employees of the company.
Can we help them fulfill their aspirations?
Engineers in the non-metro cities of India want jobs in the IT industry while these cities do not have enough employers looking for these engineers. They migrate to other areas in India where prospects of such jobs seem better. More often than not, they become desperate jobseekers in a new city; they find it hard to secure a job in spite of having the qualifications.
Many of them do not get to understand the mismatches between their skills and expectations of the employer. Grudgingly they end up picking up a job that is very different from what they wanted to pursue or were educated for. Many of them cannot reconcile with this harsh reality and live a life of discontent, with the heaviness of feeling exploited, unlucky, and sometimes angry. This is unfortunate and an antithesis of building a strong India for the future. How can companies contribute in making things better?
While hiring, organisations often are in a doubt if the over-qualified person will settle down in the role and stick to them. Some of them tend to be conservative while making the offer; the candidate at that moment not having any bargaining power tends to accept the offer. This offer being tilted in favour of the employer’s interest doesn’t build a long-term engagement with the employee. Progressive organisations oriented towards long term thinking avoid these. All organisations must refrain from making offers which are much-tilted in favour of employer interest.
Secondly, companies need to run skill upgradation programmes to give their employees a fair chance to retry getting into the career they aspired. They need to equip employees to design their own careers in a structured manner so that they craft their career path, know the competencies to build along the way and work affirmatively towards it.
Nurture talent supply lines
All our metro cities have a large population and there is a constant demand of employees for construction, retailing, general trade, hospitality, healthcare, handyman jobs and technicians. The young people of the cities do not like to pursue these job opportunities; they are upwardly mobile and are looking for jobs in offices, IT industry, hi-tech sector and high-paying fast-growing careers.
Our villages have unmet demand of people for agriculture while many youth from the villages have been educated in universities and are looking for jobs in customer care, accounting, finance, IT, office administration and so on.
In any of the above situations, employers cannot afford to solely rely on the talent pools from the neighbourhood areas. They have to discover pools of talent in different parts of the country and nurture them in a systematic manner so that they get the best from each of those target pools.
Thanks to the technology and the physical infrastructure for movement of people, we see greater willingness among candidates to move across places in search of better career prospects. Organisations have created digital tools for candidates to apply for jobs, upload samples of their work, take online assessments for potential job opportunities and seek answers to their queries. This certainly improves access to job opportunities, transparency and efficiency in the recruiting process. However, the challenge for the employers is to get the best from each pool. They need recruiters on the ground who offer human interface with the potential candidates and attract the best.
Way to go!