India produces a large number of engineering graduates every year, but the employers are not quite satisfied with their quality of the outputs. Enough and more has been said and written regarding the quality of the engineering graduates and on the need for employability skills or the lack of them, among Indian engineering students. Skill shortage remains to be 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 depending on the needs of the growing business. The need of the hour is to invest in the available manpower and also induct the coming generations to achieve a more talented and employable workforce of engineers. Organizations are on the lookout for engineers who possess technical / functional competencies, competencies with regard to aptitude (to undertake mission critical work) and specialized personality traits. Globalization has increased the pressure on companies, for the need to effectively manage their manpower and also their clients. This demands focus on development of (a) generic skills (b) application skills (c) problem–solving skills (d) communication skills by the students apart from proficiency in their subjects. Globalization has also increased the standards of education and career profiles.
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 conventional system being followed will not cater to the requirements of the Industry / Corporate. The changing market scenario, high attrition rate, mergers and acquisitions, global competition and the pace at which businesses now operate and non-availability of quality engineers has made it all the more necessary to adopt Human Resource Management Concepts in Engineering Colleges.
Human Resources is one of the most valuable and unique assets of any organization / institution. The human resources of an organization play a vital role in determining its growth and prosperity. An organization rich in its human resources can develop fast and sustain growth and such an organization can enrich the quality of its human resources further; this is a cyclic process. Successful institutions always believe in bringing the best out of the people. The primary objective of any institution is to "identify the skills and develop the required skills, knowledge and all round personality of the students."
The HR Department plays an important role by formulating, introducing and implementing HR policies for the efficient and effective functioning of the institution. It acts as a specialist, as a facilitator; as a change agent and as a controller. The major objective of any engineering institution is to provide employment to its students and to ensure that they are provided access to all the skill sets that are required by the industry through a series of training programs. A lot of emphasis should be laid on the concept of training, proper implementation of the programs, feedbacks and assessments that the HR Department can provide.
Gaining Employability Skills
A wider range of employability skills than just generic competencies, incorporating notions of career and self-management, can be seen to have positive and long term effects on graduate learning outcomes and employability. Universities must begin to comprehensively and actively engage with the employability agenda, including career building and self-management skills, in order to remain competitive in a diverse market.
The universities / engineering institutions should be committed to producing graduates who will become creative and innovative professionals. This will require graduates to possess analytical and critical thinking capabilities as well as the ability to synthesize ideas and adapt to new situations. The universities 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.
The actual competency requirements need to be globally acceptable. In this regard, the holistic framework for student development is seen as a move forward to ensure that engineering graduates have industry preferred work related skills so that, they will be able to compete and contribute in the globalized world.