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The long gap to landing a job in Chennai

The Hindu, Chenai, 23 November 2014 - A recent study indicates that 80% of those in the 18-21 age group do not possess the skills required by employers these days.

Eight out of ten students aged between 18 and 21 in Chennai are unemployable, a recent study reveals.

Strangely, once they touch 30 years, aspirants’ employability appears to go up, with as many as seven out of 10 participants managing to score 60 marks out of a possible 100 on the employability scale.

However, Chennai continues to have one of the highest employable populations in the country in the age group of 18 to 21, behind only Puducherry and Lucknow, notes the ‘India Skills Report’, published by Wheebox, PeopleStrong, LinkedIn and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The study, measuring the skill levels of people in various age groups, was conducted among a total of three lakh people across the country, with 12,303 being from the city.

Experts are worried about the trend of unemployability, and fear that the proliferation of higher education institutions could worsen the situation.

“Even though the quality of higher education has not improved much, the number of institutions and student strength has increased. It is likely that the employability situation will worsen in future,” said Santanu Paul, CEO and MD of TalentSprint, a partner company of the National Skill Development Corporation.

TalentSprint has conducted a similar aptitude test, which indicates that less than a quarter of students meet the threshold norm for aptitude performance required by employers. They measured aptitude in terms of quantitative, verbal and analytical skills.

According to S. Ganapathy, dean (placements) at SRM University, employers’ expectations have gone up. “Now, companies only want students who are billable as soon as they join the workforce. Since the requirement varies from role to role, colleges will only be able to equip students with basic skills,” he said.

Another serious problem was students’ expectations, he said. “There are a number of requirements for field-based jobs, but most people graduating from college would like a desk job that does not require much hard work. This is severely impacting their employability.”

A senior professor from Madras University pointed out that the quality of teaching staff was a major issue. “Many people who choose the teaching profession are from the bottom of the class, and few update themselves on their subjects. The quality of teaching impacts the employability and the knowledge levels of students,” he said.

C.R. Swaminathan, chairman of the education sub-committee of CII-southern region, said, “Students who have industrial experience will be better equipped to get a job. Colleges need to encourage internships to improve employability.”


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