Making Unemployable Graduates Employable – Issues and Challenges Faced by Employers

In our previous articles we discussed on many topics like the poor state of education system in AP, low quality graduates, unemployability, lack of good employees, etc. In our quest to find out the root cause of poor education system and unemployability issues in AP, we figured out an interesting aspect – this time from employer’s point of view.

Compulsory training required for today’s graduates
Just job-related training is not enough for today’s graduates. They need overall training – skills, attitudes, knowledge. They are like a seven year old obese kid trying to run a race. Employers need to first train them (let me say it’s not an easy job), to make them get into good physique and then make them run (forget making them athletes). They are incapable of doing basic job duties, forget about value addition

Todays-unemployable-graduatesSome employers are kind enough to take this extra step of training the employees in all the aspects. But unfortunately, they are discouraged and quitting their idea of training people. In fact, many are not coming forward to set up small professional companies (which can be a great economy boosters). When we drilled down into this topic and inquired with many professional business owners, some interesting insights came out. First, we will speak with government rules.

Government rules are becoming barriers
You will be surprised to know that there is no separate law for white-collar workers. The same Employment Act is applicable to all categories of employees which is actually divided into two major categories – Factory Act and The Shops and Establishments Act. Let us discuss some of the laws that are acting as barriers to straighten-out today’s incapable graduates.

  • Minimum Wage Act: Most new hires are less likely to be productive during the first few months. Not only are they unproductive they eat up time of their team leaders or managers. In addition to the training costs, employers also need to pay compulsory minimum salary (pre-defined by state Govt.), failing which it becomes a non-bailable offense. To meet that the employer is forced to shell out more money than the employee deserves. It’s like gambling put money and hope that the candidate works out at least after few months.
  • Overtime payment: Without doubt the regular eight hours are not enough to achieve the day’s tasks for our graduates. Imagine a company needs someone who can type 24 WPM and is good with MS Office. Our graduate joins with 8 WPM and lacks MS Office skills (no other option, employer has to take and train him). In order to do one day’s work he takes 3-4 days due to lack of skill. And, in case you ask the person to work extra to finish the job you need to give overtime payment to him. If you don’t give it’s a violation!

    Let us see Overtime Payment regulation – “Every adult who works for more than nine hours in any day or for more than 48 hours in any week is entitled for overtime payment which is the rate of twice his/her ordinary rate of wage”.

    Sadly, there is no Exempt Employee policy in India, where employer can exempt employees from overtime payment because a knowledge worker is responsible for the results not spending 8 hours in the office.

  • Apprentice: Employers can’t take these unfinished products (not ready for job) as apprentices. If they want to do so, they need to register under Apprentice Act. Imagine a small company following up weeks, months or years to get registered as per Apprentice Act before it considers providing an apprentice opportunity to today’s unemployable BTech/MBA/MCA graduates.

No fairness or commitment to work in our graduates
Even after compromising on all these aspects, employers are not sure whether the person works out or not. When asked to work hard, they feel like the employer is extracting juice from them and switch to another company. Some are even more smart, especially in case of IT trainees, they wait till the training finishes and go to another company and use the exposure or training to get more payment.

Some candidates try to quit the job when the employer asks for performance. Instead of comparing their performance with senior employees they compare their salaries with others and feel like they are entitled for more.

A few candidates take an extra step – they directly go and file a complaint with labour department (not knowing the consequences on their career) when employer expects them to work hard. Because of such people labour department has a negative impression on private companies. Just for giving an opportunity for a graduate, the employer has to make several rounds to the govt. office. These clearly show that fairness or commitment is lacking in the graduates to work for some time in the organization that trained them to become good.

Making better individuals is the duty of schools and colleges. As they are not doing their duty, employers are forced to take this responsibility. They are trying to resolve the issue of unemployability, but in return they are facing all these challenges and problems. Today, trying to train a degree holder to do a decent job is like self-suicide.

On a side note, government never appreciates the good work done by small professional companies nor does it creates systems that encourage them to grow. Ultimately small businesses are becoming victims. It’s time for government to rethink on the Employment Laws and create new systems that help employers resolve the unemployability issue.

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