TimesJobs in association with SU,organised a panel discussion focused on Industry-Academia Conclave
Cohesive and voluntary efforts required for efficient Industry-Academia connect: Delhi Meet
The various initiatives and endeavours taken up for a sustained industry-academia connect have been like the numerous ripples created on the surface of a pond. These ripples individually have hardly any impact, but if created in a coordinated and synchronised manner, these small ripples can undergo a cumulative effect and create a single wave with high impact quotient. The existing skill demand-supply mismatch also requires numerous similarly coordinated endeavours towards industry-academia connect. The cumulative effect of which would be the creation of a sustained talent pool. TimesJobs.com, for long has been actively taking up many such coordinated initiatives towards building this connect.
The recently conducted panel discussion, namely ‘TimesJobs.com Conversation’, organised by TimesJobs.com in association with Sharda University was one such endeavour. This discussion was focused on Industry-Academia Conclave 2013: Building Talent Pool For Future. This discussion was also a platform for the release of the White Paper prepared by Sharda University, in association with TimesJobs.com.
The panellists who weighed in on the discussion were Vlad Pozdyshev, Chief HR Officer, MTS India, Rajeev Bhadauria, Director Group HR, Jindal Power & Steel Limited, SY Siddiqui, COO- Administration - HR, Finance, IT & COSL, Maruti Suzuki India, Deepak Bharara, Director - Corporate HR, Lanco Infratech Limited, Blesson George, Head - Business HR, Jubilant Life Sciences Limited, Nishchae Suri, Partner and Head of People and Change management, KPMG, Abhay Kapoor, Head - ER, Escorts Ltd and DLN Shastri, Director - Corporate Affairs, Sharda University.
Talking about the challenges faced on the skills front, Rajeev Bhadauria, Director Group HR, Jindal Power & Steel Limited, pointed out that unemployability is the major challenge faced by our country today. He believes that the curriculum today caters only to IQ and does not address social quotient (SQ) and emotional quotient (EQ). “The basic issue is whether the pattern of education is making you literate or educating you.”
SY Siddiqui, COO- Administration - HR, Finance, IT & COSL, Maruti Suzuki India, believes that the there is no such major skills crisis. The academic infrastructure of our country is good enough and we have reasonably good colleges. “We are fine in terms of the talent that is coming out, in terms of their capability and performance.”
Talkking about the initiatives taken up by them, he added, “We have adopted over 21 ITIs and would adopt 50 more in the next 2 years, which we will manage and deliver.”
Deepak Bharara, Director - Corporate HR, Lanco Infratech Limited, pointed out that the knowledge provided to these youngsters is very basic and some are even out of context. This has created a big skills gap. He believes that there is a big gap when it comes to soft skills. Candidates find it really hard to converse in English for a even a few minutes. This is more prevalent in regional areas rather than in cities.
“There are three fits that are normally important. One is the motivational fit, cultural fit and organisational fit. Finding organisational fit is easy but motivational and cultural fits are hard to find,” he stated.
Vlad Pozdyshev, Chief HR Officer, MTS India, highlighted the fact that they are hiring new and fresh talent. They generally focus on youngsters as according to him, people below the age of 35 have a lot of potential and are essential for their organisation.
He also agrees with the fact that the cultural fit and social fit is missing. But, apart from that, the main challenge is the ability to multitask. He believes that it is very difficult to convince people here that they can handle multiple things simultaneously.
According to him, the skills sets required are financial knowledge, sense of ownership, entrepreneurial skills and ability to collaborate and work as a team.
Nishchae Suri, Partner and Head of People and Change management, KPMG, believes that there is a problem with our skill ecosystem. The ecosystem here is the relationship between production and consumption and there are inhibitions when it comes to this relationship. The academia and the industry share this relation of production and consumption and there are inefficiencies at all levels.
“There are reasons to believe that talent scouting, which is defining of talent and understanding of talent itself is limited within our country,” he stated. He believes that people define talent as per their own requirement. That itself is not creating a standard for the educational institutes to follow.
“The amount of time being spent by recruiters in assessment and fitment is huge. They shortlist a candidate basing on his/her analytical skills and academic intelligence, which forms only one third of that individual. The two third is left out. A plethora of other skills are not focussed upon,” he averred.
Abhay Kapoor, Head - ER, Escorts Ltd, highlighted that they have difficulties of basically two types. Demand versus supply and employment versus employability. He believes that the academia has to take an initiative and move a step forward to understand the industry needs and design their curriculum according to those requirements.
He is of the opinion that the quality of education provided is not upto the mark and the candidates coming out of a number of engineering and B-schools and not readily employable. This issue can be sorted out when the academia and the industry come together and take initiatives to make them employable. Especially focus on their soft skills and technical part.
Blesson George, Head - Business HR, Jubilant Life Sciences Limited, highlighted the fact that longer internship can prove to be very beneficial for candidates as well as the organisation. He stated that till now he has not been able to interact with the interns working in his organisation because of the time constraint and therefore might not absorb any of them. Longer internships would ensure that the interns are more visible to the management and their activities can be closely monitored and assessed, thereby enhancing their chances of being hired.
Putting the academia perspective across the panel, DLN Shastri, Director - Corporate Affairs, Sharda University, pointed out that they are ready to extend the time duration for the internships. He stated that the industry should take one step forward and meet the academia and take common initiatives to plug the gap.
Suri laid down two best practices for industry as well as the academia to ensure effective results;
- 10% of the management bandwidth of an organisation should be spent on education building initiatives like curriculum building, teaching or lecturing. This should be a cohesive and voluntary effort.
- Every institute to formally form a committee to get a sign off from the industry on the relevance on the curricula every year.
Siddiqui pointed out that India’s education system in the last 34 years has soared over US and Europe by big margin. The skill in our country is very good. “All we need to do is to realign, refine, re-visit and re-structure our efforts, which is not a very big challenge.”
"One needs to be taught how to manage life rather than just managing career. “
Rajeev Bhadauria, Director Group HR, Jindal Power & Steel Limited
“The young population have to be skilled properly. If not, then the demographic dividend would turn into a major catastrophe. “
SY Siddiqui, COO- Administration - HR, Finance, IT & COSL, Maruti Suzuki India
“The issue at hand is manifold and we need to have a consolidated effort to handle it. The Government has to take an initiative, so do the corporates and the people themselves.”
Deepak Bharara, Director - Corporate HR, Lanco Infratech Limited
“People know how to manage but not how to collaborate.”
Vlad Pozdyshev, Chief HR Officer, MTS India
“There are very few people in the country who have the ability of actually identifying good talent through the interview process.”
Nishchae Suri, Partner and Head of People and Change management, KPMG
“Summer trainings and project involvements with the industry can prove to be an efficient platform for the academia to connect with the industry. The industry has a lot of projects. The students can benefit greatly from this, so will the academia and the industry.”
Abhay Kapoor, Head - ER, Escorts Ltd
“I have today four summer trainees in my organisation doing their projects. I am not very sure I would hire them after this. This is because I didn’t have the time to evaluate them. “
Blesson George, Head - Business HR, Jubilant Life Sciences Limited
“Industry stalwarts should coordinate with the academia in designing the curriculum."
DLN Shastri, Director - Corporate Affairs, Sharda University