Why Students Are Not Industry-Ready? Is Everything OK with Industry?
You would sound very familiar with the observations made by industry with regard to the preparedness of modern students for jobs in the industry. It's been quite a fashion for industry-representatives to echo negative sentiments similar to this, more often than not stating that today's students are not 'industry-ready'. But do you know what happens when we confront INDUSTRY PEOPLE with a direct question of – What parameters they have employed to reach this universal judgement?
It's phenomenal to know that during most interactions their answers are not specific and are in fact very rudimentary, vague and highly contradictory. A grave problem lies there, not in their answers, but in their approach to this serious issue. It is easier for industry representatives to blame the academia, for student's short-comings or their lack of preparedness for jobs, etc. But no one seems to take a pause and ask some retrospective questions from the industry also.
No doubt, the academia is left with a lot to desire. But the industry is left with more to desire in comparison.
How comes that industry-representatives who are frequently sent for placement events, have no idea of what is it that they are looking among students, or expecting in the students?
A viciousness & frightening loop
During many events highlighting the 'Industry-Academia' interactions, we have consistently observed that even industry-representatives at times don't know the exact 'skill-set' required for them to make appropriate hiring during the events. We have been witness to regular occasions when corporate representatives start avoiding direct questions. It is not strange any more. And this is exactly the first reason that makes it a very frightening loop. Yet still, it does not tell you of the complete of vicious loop.
You also need to take into account that there always has been a wrong side of Industry's understanding of – What do they want from their employees? For, it does not then make a difference whether it a fresh candidate or an older experienced professional. Scenarios like this compel you to believe that industry-guys do not know where they themselves are heading; that industry-guys do not know that what skills they themselves would require to stay afloat, except finding them just too boastful of themselves during most interactions.
If you intend to genuinely feel the pinch of the problem and gauze - How rotten & deep the phenomenon is, read the following:
Before your start wondering about the above statement and call it a bomb, please make a note that this is the statement mentioned by Jack Welch, legendary CEO of GE. And this was factually, actually told to him by a middle-aged worker from the appliance business of General Electric. You should not need much to penetrate and observe the underlying problem. Yes, you may wonder about - why does it still continue to happen in the industry itself?
A mindless race
Most organizations world over are attempting to awaken to the understanding that it is the 'Who' factor (people factor) which is the most important. But in India the industry is still sleeping over this great understanding. Most of them still don't get worried about it and endorse fully –People are everything. You know – Why?
They have got their own classical orthodox ways and a master-slave mindset. They seem to believe as if they are sprinters and are found running a mindless race. A majority of industry stalwarts are obsessed with short-term business volumes, winning marketing strategies, creative marketing/sales tactics and so on. You can see everywhere that it is 'What' -element that is supreme in their thought-processes. That's why 'People' element does not find correct place in their considerations. Result is:
We don't have jobs, careers and growth actually, we just have openings or vacancies. Once filled, soon would be rendered vacancies again.
They are yet to master -- how to handle the most essential & fruitful paradox of today's businesses, i.e., how to achieve the short-term business gains AND how to ensure long-term victories and sustenance at the same time.
For long-term victories and sustenance they will have to be well-versed with the fact that --it is PEOPLE who are the core competence, not factory, not plant, not portfolio, not businesses, not any magical idea. Only they (people) can deliver the edge over competition consistently. But most of the business & companies are still embarking on the short-term focus only–that in fact is not the FOCUS actually. Because they believe that short-term is about thinking for 2-3 months to 1-2 years; and probably 5-10 years would be Long-term.
In fact, planning & preparing for 3-5-10 years should be short-term, and planning for 10-15-25 years should be long-term. They need to learn to build their organizations for longer-run. This is correct perspective and correct orientation for the companies. Until & unless they learn to balance this, they cannot define exactly –
What type of people with what type of skills and what type of abilities will be required?
At the moment, they are just not equipped. Irony is that they have made themselves paralyzed.