Indias burgeoning middle class presents a peculiar problemthe tremendous advantages of a demographic dividendwhere youngsters go out and seek new pastures, but also the disadvantages of being educated and yet unemployable because our degrees do not equip us sufficiently. Indias schools and colleges are changing, but too slowly. We do not teach our children the lessons of practicalityhow should one communicate verbally or electronically, what do we define as interview etiquette, how should one dress when going for an interview, how should a resume be written The result: a disillusioned workforce that does not know what is good for them in the job market.
The lower white collar, upper blue collar segment in India, in terms of prospective job-seekers, is largea pool of 70 million which could grow to over 200 million in eight years. The jobs in this segment are typically in customer service, field sales, in-store sales, guest relations, back-office and administrative roles as well as customer care associates with BPOs. These roles are typically in the salary segment between R6,000 and R25,000 per month. Yet there is an insatiable demand from employers because they cannot find candidates!
Let me give you reasons which, unfortunately, are home truths.
English is a necessity in terms of communication skills in most of these job roles. Most job-seekers coming from tier 2 or 3 towns do not have those skills. Most job-seekers in these segments say yes for a job interview when they actually mean nowe are yet to find out why, but I think it has to do with the way we are brought up. Its our culture. We are never taught to say a firm no to anything, unlike the West where people can be more direct. Most job-seekers in this segment cant be found on job portals, since a lot of them do not know how to access them, because classified job sites nearly always ask for a resume. Often the job-seekers, even though they may be graduates, dont know how to write a proper CV!
So, what are the solutions
Usage of technology and data analytics to approach the job-seeker by helping the person build a profile that aligns to an employers demands. Collecting data on job-seekers and interpreting it to find the right match by knowing a persons behavioural history. And being in touch through new-age tools like mobile and Facebook applications.
These solutions require a seismic shift in our thinking and the way we teach our next generation. The grey collar generation would also need to relearn and fast, otherwise I am afraid the initial enthusiasm of getting a job will lead to frustration and quick disillusionment.
The author is co-founder and business head, MeraJob India