Education Vs Employability: Why are Indian Engineering Graduates Unable to Land Jobs

Education Vs Employability: Why are Indian Engineering Graduates Unable to Land Jobs

“Education is a passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” – Malcolm X 

If education is a passport to the future, why are students enrolling in top universities unable to get their passport to the future i.e., get a job to build their career? The answer is simple, they have a degree, but they are not employable.

What does “not employable” mean you ask?

Let’s go by the dictionary meaning, employable means “having the skills and qualifications that will make somebody want to employ you” and employability means “the extent to which somebody has the skills, knowledge, attitude, etc. that make them suitable for paid work“– Oxford Dictionary.

This means, if graduates do not have the necessary skills, knowledge and qualities that make them suitable for paid work, they are said to be unemployable.

(source - Business Insider 2019 )

So why do students remain unemployable even after getting their prestigious degrees and with great grades?

Our education is supposed to make us employable however it is not because of the two main reasons:

The first one, of course, is the most debated topic i.e., we have an outdated education system.

The reasons we say that our education system is outdated is because,

“The top 10 IT companies take only 6% of the engineering graduates.” (Source - TOI).

And even after hiring graduates with top grades, they are again trained in state-of-the-art learning and development centres so that they actually learn the skills that are required to do the job i.e., make them employable.

Now the question is, what happens to the remaining 94%?

The graduates who don’t get jobs through campus recruitment schemes typically try to move ahead in life in the following ways:

1) Take Up Any Job: Graduates who usually have the financial burden or family commitments usually have to resort to this way. This is why we hear news about engineers taking up roles that they are overqualified for, like sales, call centre jobs, as drivers or delivery boys and even apply to become peon in government bodies. These jobs have no link to their previous education making their investment and time in degrees worthless.

2) Prepare for Govt Exams: Other than graduates who are actually passionate to build a career with the government sector, many of the unemployed graduates end up in this endless quest to prepare and get through government exams to land a government job. It works for some, some are unfortunate.

3) Pursue a Master’s Degree: Students with clear plans of higher education excluded, a small chunk of these students who don't get a job but have the financial backing and family support enrol in a master's program in India or abroad where they try to earn the degree and skills to get a job again.

4) Get Training and Certifications: Students who cannot afford to pay for another degree but want to find a job quickly resort to this option where they do courses on IT, or other domains and also to improve their communication skills so that they can get a job. This is more common among students graduating from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

From all the above scenarios, we can easily conclude that students either have to study further, get trained again, do job-oriented courses to actually become employable and get a job. 

Food for Thought: If these top IT firms are training these graduates and are making them job-ready in just 4-6 months, and students are able to do few short-term courses and get a job then was it actually necessary for the student to study engineering for 4 years? 

However, we can’t blame the education system alone, the attitude of current generation students is also another major problem that is making them unemployable. This may be a controversial statement for many, let us dig deeper before jumping to any conclusion.


So why is the student attitude coming into picture here and what sort of attitude is in the debate?

Entitlement, impatience and laziness are the core of this attitude problem in the current generation.

“Entitlement” is a big problem among most students. Students assume enrolling in a degree or doing a certification course will entitle them to get a job. The point which every student misses is that they have to gain the knowledge and acquire the skills that are taught in the degree & course which will make them “Employable”, a mere certificate with a branded name is not going to get them a job.

Also, the current generation of students is growing in an era of instant gratification where everything is available in an instant and making them impatient and lazy.

Want an answer? Google it.

Want to shop? Amazon it.

Want food? Swiggy it,

Want something? Dunzo it,

Want entertainment? Binge on Netflix,

Want to go out? Call an uber,

Want new friends or attention from people? Post on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

Technology has enabled and habituated this generation for instant gratification. However, this doesn’t work for getting a job.

Students don’t have an app to get a job instantly and get the perfect career delivered to their house. Even getting enrolled in a degree program from the top university by paying lakhs won’t guarantee a job.

Students need to prepare for months or even years to actually become job-ready, the degree programs should ideally enable this i.e., in the 4 years of study, the students should explore the subjects, their interests, identify their passion and build their knowledge and acquire relevant skills that can help them become employable. However, the irony is that these things come to the student’s mind only after graduation when they are left stranded with no direction.

Because of this attitude of students and the parents who support this behaviour, universities, colleges and institutions are only focusing on placements and marketing their placements (which they cannot guarantee) rather than imparting students with great quality education with expert faculty, latest facilities and infrastructure to help students. Hence no one talks about applications of things they learn, projects, internships etc. The only point of consideration for everyone is the grades and placement.

In essence, we can neither blame our education system nor the students for the attitude.

We cannot blame the education system because technology around the world is advancing so rapidly that people working in the emerging technology areas themselves are in a never-ending pursuit to learn new things, so how can we expect our education system to be equipped with this knowledge to impart to students?

We cannot blame the students for the attitude as well, as their current upbringing, technology impact in their environments are shaping them up in that way. You can understand more about it in this beautiful narrative by Simon Sinek on Millennials in the Workplace.

It is imperative for the students to understand that ‘ONLY YOU CAN GET YOU A JOB”, not your institute, not your college, not your university. Studying in a top institute, university or college might make it easier for you to get access to more interviews, however, just because you graduated or have a certificate from a top institute you can’t expect to get an offer letter with great pay. On the contrary, if you have the relevant skills, even without a degree or a certificate you can still get your dream job.

The only recommendation we have for the current generation is to not depend on your parents, education system, friends and family for helping you out. It is your career and your life that you have to build. Be proactive if you don’t want to be left behind. Explore your options, network with people in various domains, learn on your own, there are 1000’s of free tutorials out there, do projects, take up internships to make yourself employable. The earlier you start, the better it is.

“If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” - Zig Ziglar

So, if you are willing to learn, but are confused about how to find the right direction for your career, we at Skill At Will can help you! Click the enquiry button and submit your details to get started now.

Written By

Abhishek Patil

Abhishek is a Mechanical Engineer, a tech enthusiast who is motivated to solve the problem of unemployability in India. He also holds a Master’s degree in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from Manchester Business School, UK. Prior to founding Skill At Will, he has worked in Daimler India (Mercedes Benz) and Mitsubishi Fuso, Japan in sales and business development functions. He has also worked on several projects in involving Electric Vehicles, Big Data, Business Intelligence and ERP systems, 3D printing etc.


Comments (1)

Akhila Sulgante

May 5, 2020 02:43:35 AM

Very well written


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