What does a job-seeker really looks forward to in a job? Does the job-seeker apply because there is a pressing need to get a job—any job—or does the job-seeker try and seek the ‘right’ job? Do recruiters have the tools to gauge intent from the job-seeker’s side? If so, what are these tools? These are the seminal questions that come up when we are trying to seek the answers to solve the ‘employment conundrum’ in India. I don’t think there is a ‘silver bullet’ anywhere to solve these problems, but it is worth giving it a shot!
India’s burgeoning middle class presents a peculiar problem—the tremendous advantages of a demographic dividend—where 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. India’s schools and colleges are changing, but too slowly. We do not teach our children the ‘lessons of practicality’—how 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 large—a 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 ‘no’—we are yet to find out why, but I think it has to do with the way we are brought up. It’s 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 can’t be found on job portals, since a lot of them do not know