India produces a large number of engineering graduates every year, but according to a report by NASSCOM and also by a study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute only 25 percent of the engineering graduates are found employable. According to the survey jointly carried out by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the World Bank, 64 percent of surveyed employers are \"somewhat\", \"not very\", or \"not at all\", satisfied with the quality of engineering graduates\' skills. .
Enough has been said and written regarding the above and on the need for employability skills or the lack of them among Indian engineering students. Skill shortage remains one of the major constraints to continued growth of the Indian economy. Dr Kalam has expressed that India does not have problem of unemployment but unemployability. Organizations today want the right quantity and quality of talent at reasonable costs and more importantly to suffice the needs of the growing business. Organizations are on the lookout for engineers who possess technical / functional competencies, competencies in terms of aptitude to undertake mission critical work and specialized personality traits.
Globalization has increased the pressure on engineering institutions for providing industry ready students. Pressure is also increased on the companies for the need to effectively manage their manpower, their clients and also recruit the right quality of engineering graduates. This demands focus on development of (a) generic skills (b) application skills (c) problem-solving skills (d) communication skills and (e) technical skills of the entry-level engineering graduates. Globalization has also increased the standards of education and career profiles.
In view of the above, there is a need to bring about transformation in the systems and processes being adopted by engineering colleges in providing training and employment opportunities to the students. The changing market scenario, high attrition rate, mergers and acquisitions, global competition and of course the pace at which businesses now operate and non-availability of quality engineers has made it all the more necessary to adopt a suitable Employability Framework for Engineering Students in India.
A comprehensive Employability Skills Framework for Engineering Students in India should consist of a combination of Career Building Skills, Employability skills, Discipline Specific skills, Generic Skills and Self Management Skills which have been identified repeatedly by employers, industry experts, research and experience in the relevant field.
The various elements of the Employability Framework are listed below:
(i) Communication skills - the ability to present ideas with clarity and confidence.
(ii) Problem solving skills - the ability to identify problems and obtain formulations and solutions.
(iii) Decision making skills - the ability to take decisions based on the situation and environment.
(iv) Leadership skills - self-esteem, assertiveness, motivation and adaptability.
(v) Planning and organising skills - the ability to forecast, be proactive and create a practical method of implementation.
(vi) Application skills - the ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools
(vii) Interpersonal skills - the ability to communicate with the environment.
(viii) Team working skills - the ability to function effectively as an individual and in a group and accept and provide feedback in constructive and considerate manner.
(ix) Time management skills - Managing time and priorities - setting timelines, coordinating tasks for self and with others, being resourceful, adapting resource allocations to cope with contingencies
(x) Specific engineering discipline - the ability to acquire in-depth technical competence in a specific engineering discipline
(xi) Knowledge of fundamentals of engineering and science - the ability to apply the basics of engineering and science to all activities of engineering.
(xii) Self-management skills - that contributes to employee satisfaction and growth - having a personal vision and goals, evaluating and monitoring own performance, having knowledge and con?dence in own ideas and vision, taking responsibility
(xiii) Lifelong learning - the ability to recognize the need to acquire knowledge and skills throughout one\'s life.
(xiv) Initiative and Enterprise - the ability to adapt to new situations; developing a strategic, creative, long-term vision; being creative.
(xv) Flexibility and Adaptability Skills - the ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments.
(xvi) Entrepreneurial skills - Ability to think out of the box and be inclined towards research.
(xvii) Computer/Technical Literacy - A basic understanding of computer hardware and software, especially word processing, spreadsheets, email and keyboarding skills which are essential for all engineers in all types of jobs. Routine usage of programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc., which are part of the everyday communication processes.
(xviii) Importance of loyalty and commitment, good attitude, enthusiasm and motivation
(xix) Foreign language: Learning of one or more foreign languages will go a long way in assisting the student in career advancement.
Engineering graduates of today have to compete in a global environment and as such must be urged to acquire the employability skills specified and required by the industry. Technical universities must begin to comprehensively and actively engage with the employability framework, including career building and self-management skills, in order to remain competitive in a diverse market. The universities / engineering institutions should explore the concepts of integrating elements of employability / generic / soft skills in the teaching and learning activities in the curriculum. A holistic framework needs to be designed for students to develop essential competencies and real knowledge through community linkages as well as enable students to imbibe a professional attitude.