Employability of engineering graduates alarming: Survey

Last Updated: Thu, Jul 26, 2012 09:43 hrs

Only one out of ten students graduating from tier 2, 3 and 4 engineering colleges is readily employable, pointing to the yawning gap between education and employability of the much-in-demand graduate pool, according to a latest survey.

An even more alarming fact is that one third of this group is unfit for employment, even with external intervention in the form of training. And these findings are about students who have done well academically; with at least 60% marks, said the PurpleLeap IRIX (Industry Readiness Index) survey.

The findings of the study poses a big challenge for small and medium sized companies that straddle the need to increase capacity with the training imperative.

The study also points to the need for systematic intervention to prevent the possible failure of the technical education system in the country.

The PurpleLeap IRIX (Industry Readiness Index) survey is based on the IRIX employability-readiness test undertaken by students across the country.

The company-neutral IRIX test, executed on the Pearson VUE platform, is accepted by diverse organizations for entry level talent, and helps them shortlist from the 'pre-assessed' pool of candidates across India.

As many as 34000 students from 198 colleges, across the country, took this test which forms the basis of this survey. The criterion to qualify for the test was an academic score of at least 60%.

Commenting on the findings of the study, Mr. Amit Bansal, CEO, PurpleLeap said, 'Our country's growth will depend on developing a wider and deeper pool of skilled talent. In the present economic and employment scenario, it is important that engineering education should provide students with the skills and knowledge to be employable. A concerted and combined effort between colleges, corporate and training institutions is needed to address the prevalent employability matrix. ".

Levels of generic and technical abilities points to high need for interventional training:

The IRIX study looks into the reasons why most organizations usually have to spend 3 to 4 months on technical training to make these students workplace ready.

To be employed, as much as half of the assessed group requires intervention in the form of training, not only in technical skills, but in generic skills as well.

While the latter is an aggregate of skills in communication, problem solving and programming ability, the former is based on the ability to apply knowledge in their respective domains.

A worrying statistic is that among generic ability skills, analytical ability (considered 'natural' for engineering students) is the biggest concern area. (Analytical ability indicated the measure of logical and analytical reasoning).

The IRIX study reveals that 62% of the students do not meet the requirements on the problem solving /analytical skills, challenging the popular notion that engineering students are naturally good at these things.

Over 50% of the students have scored less than 25% in problem solving, making them fall in the 'hard-to-train' segment. Lack of adequate problem solving skills is one of the biggest gaps leading to students not getting enough technical jobs in the industry and in many cases having to settle for 'non-technical' roles, after an engineering education.

On technical skills assessment, the study shows that over 58% of the students do not meet the employability criteria on technical skills for the IT industry, the largest employer of engineering graduates in the country.

Share of employable talent is equal to the total talent pool in tier 1 engineering colleges:

However, the only silver lining in this situation is that the share of readily deployable talent in these tier 2/3/4 colleges is equal to the total talent pool in tier 1 engineering colleges.

Moreover, the number of candidates that can find employment with successful interventional training is four times in tier 2/3/4 colleges than that of the tier 1 talent pool, pointing to a sufficient talent pool that can be engaged with training.

Predictability of finding deployable talent across states:

In a bid to overcome the challenge in the predictability of finding this employable talent pool across these colleges, the IRIX study provides some pointers.

Colleges across West Bengal and Rajasthan showed the highest scores in generic abilities, with Tamil Nadu colleges producing the lowest scores.

Rajasthan colleges also produced high scores in technical abilities, while Madhya Pradesh showed the lowest scores.

PurpleLeap, a Pearson-Educomp company, is a leader in the entry level talent management space in India.

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