The National Employability Report – Engineers 2016 (NERE) by Aspiring Minds, an employment assessment organization, found out that nearly 80% of the graduating engineers are unemployable.
What it means when we say our engineering graduates are unemployable. It means even if companies have job openings, they would not hire a candidate because they do not find him/her skilled enough of what is expected of a graduate. That the candidate is substandard and not worth paying for his capabilities, or the lack thereof. The skills do not match with what the companies are looking for, and their knowledge is out of sync with what the industry demands.
Undoubtedly, there is much more to be reflected and discussed regarding the existing gap between Engineering Education, Job Market and Society’s needs.
While technical knowledge is essential to a successful career in engineering, “soft skills” are playing an increasingly important role in the engineering field, helping employers better identify the Tech professionals best suited for career advancement.
Engineering soft skills are just as critical as technical acumen when carrying out the day-to-day duties of engineering roles. Unfortunately, these soft skills — such as communication, creativity, cooperation, organization, and leadership — often aren’t taught in school. This presents a serious skills gap.
A Workplace Learning Report published by LinkedIn showed that training for soft skills was the top priority for talent development in 2018. This continues to hold true: The Future of Work Report 2022 published by Monster indicated that more than half of employers would hire a worker and provide technical training if they already have transferable skills.
What are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a person’s relationships with other people. In the workplace, soft skills are considered to be a complement to hard skills, which refer to a person’s knowledge and occupational skills. Soft skills are the set of skills that will enable you to be good at your job. Technical skills that help you excel at doing your job are not enough to thrive in your career or at your workplace. Soft skills are the skills that actually define your overall performance and how well you fit in your job.
Soft skills are a combination of personality, behavioral and social attitudes, career attributes, personality traits, mindset, and emotional and social intelligence. Soft skills decide the aptitude you have towards the above-mentioned traits/elements. Hiring bodies in any organization prefer to get on board, people with strong soft skills. Be it a job in any field, soft skills are a very vital part of succeeding in your career.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” …Henry Ford
From this saying its apparent that people have potential power to do things only if they want. It’s the leader’s responsibility to get the best out of his/her people and motivate them to achieve the departmental objectives. Innovation, creativity, and vision are essential qualities of a leader. Being innovative and creative is a core skill which enables an individual to contribute vitally to the team. Organizations always look out for lateral thinkers and creative minds as they are usually people who are flexible and do not like to stick to a routine.
An engineer who is willing to take on responsibilities that might be outside their area of expertise displays leadership qualities of agility, resilience, and flexibility.
The irony of the matter is that our school and college system of education gives so much emphasis on hard skills that they forget to understand that in any field, soft skills are a very vital part of succeeding in one’s career. Soft skills are fundamental for anyone actively seeking out a job. For anyone to be successful in their career, they must possess a robust set of soft skills. This is necessary, especially for students doing technical courses like engineering and more.
Engineers deal with clients throughout their life at work. This requires strong communication, listening, and, most importantly, negotiation skills for effective navigation through client relationships and work. Being able to have a positive attitude also helps in building a good rapport with the clients. Being part of a field as large as engineering, teamwork is inevitable. Their nature of work requires them to communicate and collaborate with different departments within the organisation as they would work in the core section. Therefore, engineers should possess excellent skills to mingle with colleagues and various departments and work as a team to ensure work happens seamlessly. The nature of engineers’ work is filled with challenges. Engineers have to deal with challenging situations almost every day. Adaptability and strong interpersonal skills are essential soft skills for engineering students to develop to be able to cope with the strenuous/high-pressure work environment.
Employers today are actively seeking prospective engineers who come with not just one or two but a strong set of soft skills. This is given equal importance as they give for the hard skills they possess. There are many types of soft skills one must-have, but the following are essential soft skills an engineer must have:
• Positive Attitude
• Collaboration/Interpersonal skills
So, it’s my earnest request to all the job seeking youth from Engineering to sharpen your soft skills and sincerely get into a training and development course in Soft Skill area. All soft skills are learnable and easily transferable, as I said Leaders are not born but made.
Don’t wait for the illusive opportunity without being prepared. As it’s said “Precaution is better than cure” but to my understanding “Preparedness is better than humiliation”. And always remember what Roman philosopher Seneca once said “Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity”