Half of Graduates in India UNEMPLOYABLE: Job Market Study

Half of Graduates in India are UNEMPLOYABLE. Up to 90 percent Lack English Language Proficiency.


Before sharing the key information, lets see what unemployability actually means. Unemployability means the inability to get a job based on one’s education and Skills. Thus when one speaks of unemployability, one also includes those graduates in India, who have to take jobs below their education level and self perceived skills.

According to a report by Aspiring Minds, an employability solutions company, around 47 percent graduates In India are unemployable for any job.

This is a grim situation, when India churns out tens of thousands of graduates each year. According to the report all these graduates who are unemployable as per industry standards don’t possess the basic skills necessary for any industry role.

How the ‘Graduates in India Employability Study’ is Conducted:

The report, which is claimed to be the first ever national audit of employability of 3-year Bachelor’s degree graduates, drew inferences from data of over 60,000 graduates pan?India, based on Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test (AMCAT).

According to Aspiring Minds co-founder and CTO Varun Aggarwal,

“The alarming statistics of nearly half of the country’s graduates not being employable in the knowledge economy needs great attention with interventions at both the school and higher education levels”.

Key Findings of the Study:

1) The employability of graduates varies from 2.59 percent in functional roles such as accounting, to 15.88 percent in sales related roles and 21.37 percent for roles in the business process outsourcing (BPO/ITeS) sector.

2) Nearly 47 percent of Graduates in India were found not employable in any sector, given their insufficient English language and cognitive skills.

3) For an analyst role, close to 84 percent of graduates were found to lack the right levels in cognitive ability.

4) 90 percent graduates in India did not have required proficiency in English communication.

5) Over 40 percent EMPLOYABLE graduates in India are not from the top 30 percent colleges and have no way to signal their employability to potential recruiters.

6) Share of Non-Elite College Graduates in Industry: As much as 41 percent of graduates employable in accounting roles hail from colleges beyond the top 30 percent colleges, whereas for the IT services sector this percentage is 36 percent.

What Corrective measures the Study Suggests:

The report noted that since a graduation degree is considered a pathway to a job in the knowledge economy, substantive intervention at school and college level is needed to improve basic skills of students. Moreover, a renewed focus on vocational training is timely now and should be re-emphasised. Employability varies from role to role based on varying degrees of proficiency required in language and cognitive skills.

 What we know from our experience: 

We’ve been studying such reports from the past couple of years. This has made us observe the issues like employability of graduates in India, language proficiency, analytical skills, cognitive skills much closely. To cut long discussion short, we also observed similar things as revealed by the study.

A majority of youth in India is still struggling with English proficiency (Written and Spoken English). The graduates in India are also struggling with employability — As most of the times the graduate courses they do, don’t prepare them for the industry. For majority of graduates in India, a three year or a four year graduation is a step towards some higher professional degree like MBA, MCA, MA etc.

In addition, as the study suggests, we too noted that an ABNORMAL emphasis on English language proficiency is making graduates in india IGNORE certain other skills which can make them employable. Key among such skills are the Analytical and cognitive skills. For instance, a sociology graduate may have poor English proficiency; but if he/she has good analytical skills in sociology, he/she becomes employable in a knowledge society (Political parties do need sociologists to know their voters better, companies need sociologists to know their customers better etc. ).  In the same manner, an engineer proficient in his core engineering subjects becomes employable even in the absence of language proficiency.

If you look closely, then the skills which make a Delhi University Arts graduate employable, are not his/her language proficiency, but his/her analytical skills in his/her subject. Whether it be elite engineering Institutions or top institutions  on other areas of study, the emphasis is always on developing the analytical and cognitive skills in the student. And that makes them employable.

Now, we don’t say High touch skills like confidence, language proficiency, language flow, demeanor etc. are not important. They are. But since it’s hard to master these skills at a higher age; hence the primary focus must be on the core subjects of study. And mastery there means developing subject related analytical and cognitive skills.