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6 November 2015

80% employers satisfied with quality of engineering graduates hired: Survey

Quodsi everti ancillae vim qui lorem persius petentium 80% employers satisfied with quality of engineering graduates hired: Survey

New Delhi, Nov 6 (ENA)  A survey administered in 2014 to approximately 900 firms, along with a series of interviews and focus group discussions with top employers and institutes found that 80 per cent of employers were ‘very satisfied’ or better with the quality of engineering graduates hired over the past year.

The findings were in stark contrast to a similar survey conducted in 2009 that surveyed 157 firms on which skills they considered important when recruiting new engineering graduates and how satisfied they were with those skills.  They found widespread dissatisfaction with engineering graduates. Only 36 per cent reported being very or extremely satisfied with the quality of new hires, while the remaining were either somewhat or not satisfied.

Both the surveys were jointly conducted by industry body FICCI and World Bank, according to an official release.  They also revealed that technical ability was still a matter of concern.

The survey finds three possible explanations for the improvement in satisfaction levels. First, firms are using increasingly more systematic processes for recruitment, increasing their chances of recruiting more suitable candidates. Further, firms are investing heavily in training new recruits, often using innovative training processes that can last up to one year. Second, colleges have been investing in improving the work-readiness of their students through closer collaboration with industry and a greater focus on soft-skills training, such as oral communication, teamwork and time management.

Finally, the market slump since 2009 and the expansion of private engineering colleges has meant an oversupply of engineering graduates, allowing firms to be more selective during the recruitment process due to a greater choice of candidates. The quantitative data do not allow us to separate the relative importance of the three factors, but our qualitative data indicate that the three likely reinforced each other during the past five years.

However, regardless of the improvement in soft skills, the survey data unambiguously points to a persistent skill deficit in the technical ability of engineering graduates, who are unable to successfully apply their technical knowledge to real world engineering problems.

Over the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of undergraduate engineers being trained in India every year. While total enrolment in higher education increased from 13.85 million to 21.78 million between 2006-07 and 2011-12, the number of students enrolled in engineering courses increased more than three-fold (from 1.8 million to 5.5 million), a rate of growth far outstripping other courses (MHRD, 2013). The increase in enrolment has been possible because existing colleges have been expanding their programs and also because new colleges have been opening. While there were only 2792 institutions training undergraduate engineers in 2009-10, there are currently 3384 institutions that train undergraduate engineers. Of these, 91 per cent are privately owned.

Several large and high profile firms participated in the interviews and focus group discussions such as Maruti Suzuki; Larsen and Toubro; Indian Oil Corporation and BHEL. (ENA Bureau)

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