‘Important to learn soft skills’

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‘Important to learn soft skills’

Wednesday, 18 August 2021 | PIYUSH NANGRU

Freshers are now competing with experienced professionals. This lays emphasis on aggressive preparation for opportunities, not just based on education, says PIYUSH NANGRU

In all this chaos, the one certainty is that COVID is rapidly reshaping the working world. In India, on average 3.5 lakh students graduate from B-schools every year. With the onset of the pandemic, pay cuts and job loss in 2020, freshers are now competing with experienced professionals in the job market. This lays emphasis on aggressive preparation for job opportunities, not just based on business education but deep-rooted soft skills.

The good news is that while competition is high for graduates, there has also been a steady increase in opportunities this year, compared to the low employment rate seen in 2020. These numbers are expected to grow as companies plan to resume frozen hirings. However, there is a steady inclination to hire business graduates that are not wired through theoretical learning but adept at the practical application of concepts, soft skills, communication, problem-solving and digital adaptability.

For companies, bigger hiring mandates and reduced budgets may imply having to quickly change their perception towards freshers. But their concerns remain the same. Are these fresh graduates competent in these skills that the industry now demands?

It is the institutes’ responsibility to hone skills. They can do so by incorporating the following principles.

Accountability in higher education: In the management field, placements are a show-stopper for any graduate who is looking to enter the corporate world. B-schools can enhance this by taking accountability for students' placements with a sharp focus on building the credibility of their students' skills & achievements, along with relationship building with corporates. This will lead to more corporate-student interaction before student's day 1 at his/her workplace.

Hands-on learning: The course structure should encourage a more hands-on way of learning, led by technology. Our dependency on technology and the dire need for digital literacy stood out during the pandemic. Learning from that, the management curriculum needs to propagate the ease and usage of digital mediums. This will also help students be more agile in the wake of tech-related transformations in organisations.

Tailored curriculum: The B schools need to make the shift from a one-size-fits-all approach to propagate a tailored course structure that prioritises domain-specific and role-specific concepts. This curriculum is led by technology, providing every student with a customised learning. Through this, students get versed with strengths and weaknesses and have a chance to apply their learnings in the real world to see for themselves what works and what doesn’t.

Such a tailored learning curve facilitates professional growth among students and bridges the gap between industry demands and the soft skills.

Along with this approach, game-changing skills and the onset of gig-economy, HRs can take lead in smooth hiring for remote positions and corporates can thrive with low-cost especially on the infrastructure front.

For this smooth transitioning towards the future of work and remote working, corporates also need to take a leap of faith and look at freshers as industry-ready professionals. This will be led hugely by B-schools for delivering a talent pool of graduates ready to take on the challenges with the right soft skills.

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