While the world is moving ahead at a breakneck speed, one thing that has remained steady is the demand for skilled talent. Leading organisations have shown a keen interest in expanding their current “catchments” to count on for industry-ready talent with the objective of better fitment, faster time to deployment and reduction in training costs.

An ASSOCHAM study had stated that only seven per cent of the MBA graduates were fit to be employed. According to a National Employability Report, compiled after a study of more than 150,000 engineering students who graduated in 2015 from over 650 colleges across the country, 80 per cent of them were found unemployable.

While there are phenomenal investments being made by corporates and educational institutions to bridge the skill gap, the onus is on individuals to equip themselves with the requisite skills and stay relevant. With the acute shortage of skilled talent, it is necessary to assess one’s own levels of employability.

Technology can act as a mirror for an individual by helping him reflect on what exactly should be his plan of action. It can also help individuals assess and measure their level of employability through the different assessment programmes that have been tried and tested, and most importantly, in accordance with industry expectations.

Technology can help an individual get a vivid picture of his strengths and weaknesses, thus mapping the key problem areas that need to be addressed immediately and the important prerequisite skills that one needs to work on. These assessment tests facilitate a comprehensive report on one’s level of employability and alternate routes to enhance it.

Employment assessment programmes at colleges are an effort at helping students attains their goals at the completion of a programme. It helps students select courses that suit their needs and enables them to secure official qualifications.

It is the technical know-how that is considered as a parameter to scale success rather than the grades. This is what justifies the significant role played by employment assessment tools at various institutions.

A standardised test such as an employability assessment, exhibits the strengths and weaknesses of the students. A response like this helps the student understand where he or she is lacking and how they can improve or where his or her strengths lie.

It also helps students zero-in on their options. Once a student understands where their strengths and aptitude lie, they are able to make an informed decision regarding their future and do not grope in the dark for options.

One common strategy in tight labour markets is to shift the focus from hiring for a specific set of skills, abilities, knowledge, etc., for a specific job to hiring for their potential. In such cases, a few key abilities or characteristics are identified and applicants are evaluated based on their ability to bring this valued ‘raw material’ to the table. This need for a candidate is being successfully fulfilled by such assessment technologies.

However, before one signs in, it must be kept in mind that improving employability is a slow and gradual process and can never be achieved overnight. The way to develop the skills that will ensure employability is by honing and fostering competencies that are essential for any job. This is a long drawn process, the awareness of which should begin at an early age. Parents, teachers, schools, colleges, corporates and the individuals themselves should work together to enhance the employability of the youth.

While a lot of effort has to be put in by corporates and educational institutions, to rope in industry expertise into academia for better quality education, the onus is on the individual to take up the opportunities that are presented and to proactively skill and equip oneself with the competencies and traits that are needed in the current industry.

The writer is CEO, MeritTrac.