Highlights of Aspiring Minds Employability Report on Indian Graduates 2013

Introduction to the Employability Report on Graduates

India graduates more than five million graduates every year. Engineers comprise a small (but significant) part of it at around six hundred thousand, whereas the rest take up a variety of three or four year bachelor degree programs. As we continue to expand capacity and diversity of courses available for graduation, it is important to understand what proportion of graduates that come out every year are actually employable in India's knowledge economy. With learning from a large set of graduate students and corporations over the last 3 years, Aspiring Minds' conducted a national audit of employability of 3-year bachelor's degree graduate to understand what percentages of graduates are employable across job profiles, gender, college location etc. The report also attempts to identify skill gaps in various areas like domain knowledge, language skills, aptitude etc.

 

Methodology

This report is based on AMCAT (Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test) tests conducted on a sample of more than 60,000 graduation students from numerous colleges across multiple states in India. The analysis and findings of this report are based on the performance of these students in different modules of AMCAT, India's largest and only standardized employability test. The test was conducted under a proctored and credible environment ensured by Aspiring Minds.

The employability has been quantified by Aspiring Minds, based on benchmarking studies conducted at various companies across different sectors, defined by a theoretical understanding and empirical validation of the knowledge, cognitive skills and domain expertise required. Performance of simple graduates in generalized competencies was thus found and reported along with various demographic details captured by our testing platform. This has helped us to present a comprehensive and meaningful data-analysis, provided in this report.

 

Key Findings

Some key findings of the National Employability Report for Graduates 20131include:

  • 47% graduates not employable in any sector of the knowledge economy
    • The employability of graduates varies from 2.59% in functional roles such as accounting, to 15.88% in sales related roles and 21.37% for roles in the business process outsourcing (BPO/ITeS) sector. A significant proportion of graduates, nearly 47%, were found not employable in any sector given their English language and cognitive skills. Since a graduation degree is considered a pathway to a job in the knowledge economy, substantive intervention at school and college level is needed to improve basic skills of students.
  • Less females are pursuing three-year graduate degrees and show similar or lower employability to males
    • There are 109 males to every 100 females in three-year degree programs. This is in contrast to the male-female ratio of 1.96 for engineering graduates. Among the streams, arts stream has the highest proportion of females followed by commerce, while science accounts for the lowest proportion. Females are found to be equally or more employable in all sectors, however they lag in basic computer skills.

Figure 1: Males vs Females: Employability across Different Roles

  • English and Computer Skills dampening smaller town employability prospects significantly
    • For students residing or studying in smaller towns and cities (tier 2/tier 3) the maximum gap is observed in English and Computer skills. Since both these skills are rated as enablers and useful skills in knowledge sector jobs, they demand early intervention. It was observed that even after moving to metros for education, graduates are not able to bridge the gap in their computer skills. This is despite the fact that they are equivalent, with respect to all other skills, to candidates permanently residing in metros. Despite, the positive sentiment of the IT revolution, it is found that more than 50% graduates do not know how to perform simple functions like copy-pasting text nor are they able to differentiate between hardware and software.

Figure 2: Employability across Tier I, Tier II and Tier III College Cities

  • Education system promoting rote learning in place of actual application of concepts
    • Not more than 25% of the graduating students could apply concepts to solve a real-world problem in the domain of Finance and Accounting. On the other hand, on average, 50% graduates are able to answer definition-based/theoretical questions based on the same concept. This shows that even though students have got exposure to the concepts, they really do not understand them or know how to apply them.

 

  • Over 40% employable graduates beyond the top 30% colleges have no way to signal their employability to potential recruiters
    • 41% of graduates employable in accounting roles hail from colleges beyond the top 30% colleges, whereas for the IT services sector this percentage is 36%. Despite being employable, these students have no way to signal their employability to recruiters who end up recruiting only from reputed colleges and universities. Not only does this begets economic inefficiency, but brings in unfairness for the student. The need of the hour is to develop effective means to 'discover' employable students easily across the nation.

 

Conclusion

Findings of the report strongly point towards the need for renewed focus on vocational training, specific targeted intervention in areas of computer and English skills. The fact that less than 25% students are able to apply concepts to problems, shows that our higher education system needs to lay greater stress on application of concepts and discourage rote learning. Employers should also start questioning their traditional ways of selecting and sourcing graduates and find new ways to reach employable youth. This report will be a useful tool in the hands of educationists, policy makers and corporations and make them reflect upon and implement the right interventions to bridge the gaps.

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