Why India’s Qualified Are Unemployed

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Recently, Infosys Ltd. fired employees with over 4 years of experience, not because they did not perform well at work or were not skilled enough for their jobs, but because the company was in the midst of its largest retrenchment drive.

Also, not so long ago in February 2016, Snapdeal had put over 200 employees on a Performance Improvement Program and eventually let go of the additional staff, because of which many skilled employees had to join a start-up on a similar package but with much lower aspirations to earn their bread and butter.

The post-Independence era suggested that the problem of unemployment would become a ‘myth of the past’ and that not a single educated son or daughter of Free India would suffer from the plight of unemployment. But look at what is happening around us. The number of unemployed, especially among educated people began to increase with alarming rapidity.

If we do a simple calculation, then there are around 11000 colleges in India, of which 1200 are only engineering colleges. So, if we assume that from the remaining 10000 colleges (nearly), 200 students, on an average, pass out every year, then around 2 million to 2.5 million “qualified” students graduate from these colleges every year. Considering an average of 10 opening per year for 50000 companies, the eligible candidate for each seat would come around to 25 candidates per seat. On what parameters then can you define eligibility?!!


My question is, why are there lesser jobs and more so-called ‘skilled’ people to fill the vacancies? The distressing news is that employability in India is rampant in both, blue and white-collar jobs.  What are the contributing factors to this disparity?

Does the problem lie in the fundamental change in the business model that Indian IT companies are wrestling with? (It’s as if the world has become digital, and they haven’t; at least, not enough).

Or, are societal inequalities, inadequate education infrastructure, quality of education and lack of effective assessment of skills, some of the reasons why a majority of working-class personnel in our country are not qualified for the jobs that they aspire for?

Going by statistics, a staggering 13.3 percent of India’s population in the age group of 15 – 29 years is unemployed. Yet, as our unemployment figures continue to rise, almost every industry, be it manufacturing, technology, hospitality or corporate, is facing a shortage of skilled workforce. The cherry on this cake is ‘Trump’s New Protectionism’, which means more Indian IT companies are asking or are going to ask Indian H-1B Visa holders to return home.

Not just that, but recent reports also indicate that as many as 47 percent of Indian graduates are not qualified for any industry job.

Adding fuel to fire, surveys by various agencies reveal that more than 70 per cent of our engineering graduates are not employable.

Then maybe, one of the main problems lies in our system of imparting education and the subsequent assessment of additional soft skills and capabilities needed to survive in today’s competitive work atmosphere. Graduates often complain that they were not exposed to life skills training or internship opportunities during their graduation years, which would have prepared them for the real workplace scenario.

So, the crucial question we first need to ask is whether we are unemployed or unemployable?

Are there enough jobs or do we really possess the right skills and qualifications for the jobs available? The solution lies not only in ensuring the balance between the two but also in measuring the employability skills efficiently.

The unemployment problem, especially among the educated youth of India, should be given a serious consideration by the government, as the youth of today is to be the pillar of the nation in future. 


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