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About 14 lakh engineering aspirants appeared for JEE 2014 – the biggest engineering entrance exam in India. Besides, there are lakhs of other students who appear for other prominent engineering exams like BITSAT and VITEEE.
Traditionally, the bright students in India either choose engineering or medicine as their career. Since, it takes several years to become a doctor, most of them choose to be an engineer.
But there is another side to the story – something we never get to hear about until we land in the hot soup. Every year, 15 lakh engineers pass out from the numerous engineering colleges and technology institutes of India. Only a few get absorbed by the industry. Most of them remain jobless!
‘No Vacancy’ for Engineers!
Just like MBAs, engineers were quite in demand in late 90s and early 2000s. There was an acute shortage of engineers in India. Companies were offering lucrative salary packages, incentives and appraisals to attract and retain their engineers.
According to the norm, the salary of an engineer grew at a rate of 10 to 30%.
No wonder, students dreamt of being engineers and parents were proud to say that their children were pursuing engineering. As the demand for engineering courses grew, politicians and entrepreneurs rushed to create government and private engineering colleges to cater to this demand.
No one really researched about the future career prospects of engineers who will be graduating from these colleges, the quality of education being offered, the infrastructure of colleges, availability of qualified faculty members and employability of graduates.
This led to an over-supply of engineers.
In the last decade, new jobs for engineers has increased at a rate of about 19% – from 1.6 lakh jobs to 1.9 lakh jobs. On the other hand, engineering graduates that have passed out during the decade grew at an astronomical rate of about 300% – from 2.7 lakh to 10.7 lakh. Lack of suitable jobs for our engineers is undermining overall credibility of our Indian education system.
Besides, we are much dependent on MNCs to employ our skilled workforce. Weak industrial infrastructure has crippled us in many ways.
Is there a future in Engineering?
According to the experts, the market will automatically reach the stage of equilibrium solving the problem forever. We already see thousands of seats lying vacant in engineering colleges. In fact, many of the tech colleges have pulled their shutters down as their business is not viable anymore.
Here are some other things that we and the Indian government can do to improve the job prospects of our future engineers:
- Encouraging SMEs: Small and medium-scale enterprises have a huge potential of absorbing our engineers. Hence, they should be encouraged. There are other advantages of small-size and medium-size industries too. They create ‘local’ jobs for all types of workforce, including skilled and unskilled workforce and women employees. Local jobs can help in diminishing rural-to-urban migration.
Small scale industries have proved that they can use industrial waste and locally available raw materials in a better and more cost-effective manner. They may help in reducing our dependence on imports and generate good foreign exchange income too.
- Promoting entrepreneurship: Graduating engineers can be encouraged to start their own ventures by offering them proper guidance, subsidies and tax exemptions. Instead of hunting for jobs, they can create jobs for themselves and others too.
- Monitoring educational standards: Academic standards should be uniform across all government and private engineering colleges in India. Regular quality checks should be conducted to make sure that tech institutes really adhere to the guidelines given to them.
Moreover, students, parents, faculty and all the stakeholders should be encouraged to actively keep an eye on the quality of education being offered by an engineering college. They can use the power of social media and tap the power of the masses to bring about positive changes in the Indian education system.
- Nurturing college-industry tie-ups: Corporate exposure to students, in form of internships, workshops, symposiums and seminars should be encouraged. Syncing college students with real-life job scenarios can help in pulling up employability level of graduating engineers.
- Mentoring after graduation: Faculty and alumni can offer mentoring programs to fresh graduate engineers to help them perform better in their first job. Right career moves early on can be of immense help to young engineers.
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