Gone are the days of grades when impressive scores alone could land one a job in multinational firm. Just being a top ranking engineer from a premier institute like IIT, IIIT, NIT is no longer enough to bag a plum job. They can crack the toughest math and solve the complex equations, but when it comes to the job market, they have to pull up their socks and sharpen their skills.
A professor said “Qualifying for JEE or JAM and getting a good job are two different things. Employers have their own selection procedure to judge the candidate on a range of skills apart from academic knowledge” “Our students are good in technology and engineering but communication is vital in the real world. Whether they become CEO; CTOs, or entrepreneurs, they need these skills”, said Prof. Uday Desai, IIT Hyderabad. 4 One of every three IITians graduating this year didn’t find a suitable job or wasn’t found suitable for a job through campus placement, official data show, pointing to shrinking employment opportunities for India’s large pool of engineering talent. Out of 9,104 students in 17 IITs, who applied for job this year, only 6013 got jobs. 5 Similarly, the other engineering institutions are also got poor placements.
Telangana has 377 engineering and technical colleges. As per the data procured from the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the statistics reveal that of the total number of engineering students who graduated from the state of Hyderabad between 2012-2016, only 21 percent managed to secure a job through campus recruitment. 6.Employers are now offering very limited jobs and demanding more specific skills set. Hence, soft skills take the hard hitting role in modern job market.The need for soft skills has been emphasized by researchers across the world. The research findings of Rajsekaran and Rajasingh (2009) emphasize that the perception gab between industry and academia must be bridged to improve the employability of students and enhance the quality of higher education.
Lowden et al., 2011, define soft skills as “a range of broader skills and attributes that include team working, communication, leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and managerial abilities.” The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (2009) claims that soft skills should not be considered as a substitute for specific knowledge and technical skills but rather as something that “can make a difference between being good at a subject and being good at doing a job.” Rao (2010) states that “Current Indian system focuses too much on facts and figures which does not support creativity, analytical and reasoning power among the children.
” Paliwal (2009) has emphasized the need of coordination among the efforts of academia, industry and the government. In a similar study, Knell, Oakley and O’Leary (2007) also emphasized that employers are continually asking for a workforce rich in creativity, communication skills and cultural understanding. Blom and Saeki (2011) studied the skill gap for Indian engineers through a survey of employers conducted in 2009. The study classified all skills into three skills groups: core employability skills, communication skills and professional skills.
The results showed that overall employers were dissatisfied with the quality of engineering graduates. Employers considered all skills important. However, soft skills (core and communication) were ranked more important than professional skills. On the basis of the results, the study recommended that educational institutions should focus on enhancing the soft skills of engineering graduates through special initiatives by the faculty. The latest Leadburg-MTHR Soft Skills Priorities in Employability Survey says that non-cognitive skills are as important as domain and technical skills.
The prospective candidates focus only on domain skills thinking that only those skills are required for a job. However, the employers believe that domain skills can be imparted through training. Without core behavioural skills like adaptability, learning ability, loyalty and creativity, the process becomes very tough.
Soft skills- also referred to as ‘EQ’ meaning someone’s ’emotional intelligence’- are those skills and personality traits such as communication and language skills, confidence, optimism and decision making ability which are useful to both employers and employees. As per the survey conducted by LinkedIn (LNKD), fifty-nine percent of 291 U.S.
hiring managers said they had difficulty finding candidates with so-called “soft skills” — the interpersonal skills that can make a workplace function smoothly. On the other hand, only 53 percent said that “hard skills” such as database engineering and coding were difficult to find. According to Martin Carole (2008), hard skills are more “along the lines of what might appear on your resume” whereas soft skills are “cluster of personality traits, social graces, personal habits, friendliness and optimism.” Soft skills are not a substitute for technical or hard skills. However, they act as harmonizing skills that serve to unlock the prospective for highly effective performance in people even with good hard skills.