Key Reasons Why Engineering Students Lack Employability Skills

Posted By: Shatavisha Chakravorty

Till a couple of decades ago, Engineering was one of the most coveted professions in the country. It took exceptional skill and caliber to land oneself a seat in an engineering college. Indian engineers were highly valued and international firms would long to employ such people. This led to the situation wherein a greater majority of the US engineers were of Indian origin.
However, as the years passed by, it was noted that the employability of engineering graduates in the country started declining tremendously. In the process, engineering started losing out on the glamour it once had.

As of 2018, India produces about 15,00,000 engineering graduates every year. About 40 per cent of them land themselves with job either through campus placements or in the same year in which they graduate. Another 40 per cent take about a year to find jobs.

Why Engg. Students Lack Work Skills

The remaining 20 per cent take two years or longer to find the job of their choice. If this is not enough, many of the engineering graduates who do land themselves with jobs are seen to be working in the BPO sector or in other sectors that are not the same as that of their specialization. This trend is indeed alarming and may be attributed to the fact that students these days lack employability skills. This article explores some of the reasons for the same.

1. Outdated Curriculum

It is important to understand that technology is a field that is constantly updating itself and as engineers, people need to keep pace with the same. Thus, it is important for an individual to be taught the latest technological developments if he or she wants to be employed in a firm directly after college. However, the syllabus in Indian technological universities do not prescribe this. Even today, things like quantum computing, iOS application development, and IoT are not taught in most Indian engineering colleges at the under graduate level. Back in the west, most of the US colleges have been teaching these courses to its under graduate technical students for years now.

2. Lack Of Practical Application

Most Indian engineering colleges follow the trend wherein 70 to 80 per cent of the total weightage of any paper is on the theory part of it. In such a situation, students who are exceptionally good in academics know very little of the practical application of what they learn in the classroom. As a result, once they graduate and get into the industry, companies that hire them have to spend a lot of resources and effort in training them and making them 'industry ready'. Clearly, most work places would not want to incur such an added expenditure and as a result, the students often find themselves unemployed after college.

3. Lack Of Industry Exposure

In most engineering colleges in the country, internship is not a part of the curriculum. Even in cases where it is a part, the credits allotted to the same is negligible. It is obvious that without being in an industry it is impossible for an individual to understand the basics of its functioning. That is why, Indian engineering graduates often find themselves in situations wherein they don't know the basic functioning of the industry they work for and hence they are unemployable.

4. Soft Skills

The only way to survive - in MNCs is to have good communication skills. By communication skills, we refer to both verbal as well as written communication. Indian engineering students are often seen to be lacking this. The current engineering education scenario here is such that there is practically no importance paid to the development of soft skills and other behavioral skills and manners. This is all the way truer in the case of students from the smaller towns and villages. Other than the fact that companies prefer students who are proficient in English, the other side of the story is the fact that by not being fluent in English students often suffer from a lack of self confidence which in turn hampers their prospect at seeking a job even further making them all the way more unemployable.

5. Wrong Career Choice

As sad as it sounds, the fact is that India is a country where people become engineers first and then decide what to do. (This is why you will often see Indian engineers making it big as writers, musicians, artists and what not). Most people who take up engineering have no interest in this field. It is parental or peer pressure which makes them do it. As a result, they are unable to put their heart and soul to it and often end up performing very bad in the field. The only way out of this is coming up with some means by which it can be tested if a student really has the caliber and aptitude for the subject that she or he is intending to study. At the personal level, parents must take it upon themselves to identify their child's potential by the time she or he completes their class 12th board exams. Unless and until engineering is their true calling, they must not be pushed to it.

6. Emphasis On Rote Learning

If you look at the Indian engineering education scenario, you will find that the maximum focus here is on rote learning. The engineering entrance tests are all about the formulae and equations that one has mugged up. Even at the under graduate level, where engineering students in other students are given formula sheets and their test is mainly about application of the same, in India, students have to memorize all the formula. This appliesto the premier engineering institutes of the country like the IITs and NITs as well. The focus here is clearly on rote leaning over the actually scientific and technological learning. Since in the actual job scenario there is not much use of rote learning, these students find themselves unemployable.

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