Talent shortage in India is artificially created

I was just discussing with a colleague who had been to the BANCON-2007 (Banker’s Annual Conference in India). I was discussing the proceedings of the conference and how it was etc. (You can see the presentations here)

I was told that in one of the panel discussions (the entire program is here) the speakers (most top executives at various organisations)  lamented shortage of talent in the country. This shortage of talent is emerging as another paradox in the country. In a country with huge population, demographic dividend(having a higher younger population compared to old) etc. how do we explain the shortage of talent problem?

Immediately we would blame the government. They have spent most on their own salaries, own constituencies etc etc. I agree govt. is to be blamed. But I think corporate sector can do quite a bit in education as well.

Opening a school is very difficult in the country so we really cannot solve the problem bottom -up. But how about a top-down approach? There are many private engineering/management colleges in India which are churning out graduates in plenty.

Why can’t the top executives start looking at making the private colleges better instead of plain lamenting? There are few who have taken up but most still prefer to be associated with top colleges. And even those who are on boards seldom are very proactive. They find it difficult to even get basic jobs but only thing media wants to talk about is rising salaries at select colleges.

Another point is the corporate sector believes that most that graduate are unemployable (and hence a shortage of talent) and there is always a beeline for the top engineering/management colleges.

I don’t really agree. I think one learns most at work. Most of the theories we study in colleges are not really used in practice. Even the top grads need training and they dont start making strategies from day one. Infact if recruited for marketing department, you are often sent to far flung areas to learn more about India as they know Kotler’s theories do not work as taught in textbooks.

I agree there is a difference in learning levels but that does not mean they are not employable. Even the top schools were once given an opportunity and that is how they became good. It is only when you give people opportunities can one grow. Like every year we have a big press release in all papers that following students have been selected for AV Birla scholarship. On a close look they are all from top colleges. I agree they deserve to be credited, but I guess such a big business group could help people from other colleges as well. I am sure they must be even doing it, but somehow it is not covered as well. The encouragement has to come from all angles.

Another thing I do not understand is the hue and cry we make in India over which college are you from? It irritates you more weight is given to the college than the individual. I agree colleges shape individuals but it is not a necessary and a sufficient condition.

Another issue is the discrimination issue- better jobs are mostly kept for those who have graduated from such and such place. Why should that be so? However, most corporates have a statement like”we are fair employers” but they don’t really practice it. They discriminate on the basis of colleges. I don’t have statistics but one keeps hearing many a stories where 2 freshers (no work experience) with everything similar except their colleges, are employed at a similar firm at same position but at different levels (in terms of pay, grade etc.) . Even promotion path is different with the one from a better college slated for promotion much earlier.

People might say well that is the reward one gets from passing out from a better college. I think they are already rewarded as they have got better education, better teachers which will help them in future. They should rise on the basis of their education and not based on discrimination. The competition should prevail.

India is a huge population and we can’t adopt exclusive policies elsewhere. Time to act not plain talk.


2 Responses to “Talent shortage in India is artificially created”

  1. Taare Zameen Par lessons « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] The problem becomes extremely difficult to manage as most engineers want to do an MBA. No one seems to be interested in engineering and as a result we have cries of talent shortage in key industries (I however think talent shortage can be managed) […]

  2. Indian academia salaries- Too low or too high? « Mostly Economics Says:

    […] as on one side Indian corporates feel quality of students is bad ( My view on Indian corporates is here). On other side India has become a hub for so many foreign knowledge outsourcing units and their […]

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