The Skill Gap - 2 : The Way Forward; Focus On What You Can Change
I am also an active blogger, and regularly attend blogger meets across platforms like Indiblogger and Blogadda, where I meet and mix with teens, 20-somethings as well as 30-somethings.
Thus, I have seen the so-called "unskilled" people at 4 levels -
* hiring manager;
* team leader / area manager / segment manager / regional manager;
* Professor and/or guide
* Friend, or group member, having been talking to and conversing with them as one of them.
THE BACKDROPAs I observed in my previous post on this - The Great Indian Skill Gap, the so-called Skill Gap is vastly different from the perception. I have read several news articles that wax eloquent on this, as well as a few surveys - all have the same verbiage and meaning; but fall short on specifics, Furthermore, most are a survey of hiring managers, and are frankly based on the gift of gab. This is by no means in the category of an exhaustive research.
ABOUT SKILL SETS AND COMPETENCIES
THE WAY FORWARD - THE CIRCLE OF INFLUENCE
Remember : Focus on what you can change, the circle of influence. The socio-economic factors, the schooling issues are way too complex and are in the circle of concern. Changing that will require decades- and you want business performance in the near term.
My point is that this is not so simple, and has many, many facets and roots - Socio-Cultural, Economic, Political, Business etc. This does not lend itself to simple and-or situations. In the meantime, we in Corporate India need people.
Any youngster will have dreams and aspirations, that is natural. It is the absence of dreams that is a problem, not how tall they are. Similarly, not all can communicate their feelings and thoughts. That is again a human trait. Does this mean that all those who cant communicate are worthless, and have no talent? Obviously no. What is needed in counselling - which is not done, or proper guidance as to what suits which person. This is the most significant gap in educational systems.
What can WE do should be the question? That is our circle of influence. Remember - we require people as much as they require jobs. Our need is in some ways greater than theirs. We can either sit and cry as to the failures of the system - or roll up our sleeves, plan and execute strategies that will bridge the gap. The latter course is a sure guarantee of success. The former isnt.
What we can do is step in, fill the perceived gaps in chosen institutes that have the potential of meeting our needs, and work with these institutes round-the-year, through monthly seminars with students, one-on-one counselling sessions,and other such activities. This will cost next to nothing, and give us a strong understanding of the prospective candidates to boot. In the pressure for immediate results, we forget to nurture new talent; we set the bar too high due to our internal deliverables which are demanding, so say the least. The need of the hour is a long-term approach. To be specific, choose and target specific colleges in smaller towns and cities - Indore, Bhopal, Varanasi, Surat, Nasik, Akola, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Bhuj, Agra etc. Work with these places - you will get talent, and at a lower cost. Win-win situation
This will also go a long way in reducing employee turnover, reduce stress, build engagement. Survey after survey is showing rise of dissatisfaction, unbearable stress, physical diseases, mental diseases in Corporate India.
In my experience, students do respond to counselling, and proper guidance. Problem is, they dont have anyone to approach for help and guidance. We can play that role. The pay-off? Talent. Assured talent, and tie-ups with institutes that will last years, as also fulfilling your CSR mandates in a sure way.