Sunday, April 20, 2008



The article addresses about the problems of talent crunch and how it affects the productivity and performance adversely. The causes, effects and the tips to tackle the talent crunch are dwelt at length. The importance of Soft Skills and the role of Corporate and Soft Skills Trainers are focused in detail.


KEY WORDS: What is Talent Crunch? Education Vs Training Vs Development, Causes, Effects, Tips to Tackle Talent Crunch, Soft Skills, Importance, Role of Trainers & Conclusion.

“If 4,00,000 engineers come out of India every year, the equivalent in China is 1.2 million and they are all of very high quality”, said Mr.Padmabhan, executive vice president for global human resources at Indian IT services company TCS.


The problem presently being faced in the job market is not scarcity of jobs but scarcity of talent. It is a problem of unemployability not unemployment. In the past, we had unemployment where applicants had the eligibility, suitability and capability towards jobs but unfortunately there were not many employment opportunities. After the liberation, privatization and globalization, the industrial climate in India had drastically changed for better and fortunately there are ample employment opportunities in India. But the problem prevailing now is of unemployability where people have eligibility not having suitability and capability despite availability of employment opportunities. It is like having everything on the platter in front of you but not able to eat. It is also like having plenty of water in the ocean but the applicants are not in a position to drink due to talent crunch. In this context, it is pertinent to briefly explain about education, training and development.


Education is a broader concept and it provides all round knowledge, skills, aptitudes etc., Training is the narrow area, functional area and is more or less related to job. According to Flippo, “Training is the act of increasing the knowledge and skills of an employee for doing a particular job”. An automobile engineer having formal education, at times, may not be as capable of an automobile mechanic without formal education because of the training the latter had. The mechanic after working very hard continuously and mechanically for a long period becomes an expert not by education but by training and experience. It is like saying that, in a clinic, a compounder is better than a doctor who acquired a professional qualification. On the other hand, development is career oriented which helps in the growth of the individual as well as the institution. Talent crunch occurs if there is no synergy amongst education, training and development. To put it precisely, talent crunch can be addressed if there is synchronization and coordination in the three areas of education, training and development. Talent crunch need not to take place before the joining of the applicant in an organization. It can prevail even after joining in the organization, if the organization does not get tuned with the external changes, either technological, competitive or human relations front.


The present Indian educational system is not in right pace with the global education and is based on rote learning. It stifles creativity and innovation and encourages cramming, mugging up and by hearting the contents. Students, in stead of understanding, analyzing and interpreting the information they read and reproduce during the examinations. In such a scenario, how can we have talented stuff?

Now a days, guides have proved to be handy and students score high marks only by reading the guides and the previous model question papers during the exams. They are not reading variety of books. Referring diversified books provide different, divergent and wider knowledge base and unfortunately that is missing now. They score highest marks in the academic exams and take the competitive exams where they face a lot of heat. Unfortunately there also, too many guides that glide the students to clear the written tests in the competition. And the final heat is in the interview where they fail miserably because here memory may not support much but the employers look for various qualities like communication skills, team spirit, leadership skills, analytical skills, problem solving skills, flexibility, adaptability and absorbability. Research reveals that 2 out of 10 of the recruited employees really possess the skills related to job and the rest do not possess but still are being absorbed because the companies do not like to keep the vacancies unfilled. Every company looks for plug and play recruits. Since they are not getting they are spending huge funds to train and groom the recruited employees to make them job competent.

Even in Indian defence also there is talent crunch. Jobs for the post of Commissioned officers are available and unfortunately they are not getting right talented people and as a result, the vacancies remain unfilled as Indian defence can not compromise quality of performance.

Internet has become a big boon for students these days. Entire information is available at the click of a mouse. Everything is ready made and tailor made. Whatever they want, they get it at the click of the mouse from search engines. They simply copy and paste. It all led to stifling the thinking abilities. One way, internet has become a boon and on the other hand it has become a bane.

Dearth of creativity and innovation and the problem in the present teaching and training methodologies and the maladies in the present examination system has led to the present talent crunch.


When incompetent applicants are recruited, there is lot of spending on the training and development activities. Or else it will adversely affect the production, productivity and performance at the individual as well as the institutional level. The companies may not be in a position to compete with their global counterparts due to the dearth of talent. Employees may not be able to cope up with the working pressures due to shortage of skills and abilities and leading to higher stress levels. A sense of fear, frustration and depression may creep in the minds of the incompetent people and the work life would become hell as they can not enjoy their professional life. And ultimately it will have fall out on the personal and social life. Finally the incompetent employees may develop high stress levels thereby burning out.


Every human memorizes 20 per cent of what he listens, 30 per cent what he sees, 50 per cent of what he listens and sees and 80 per cent of what he listens, sees and does. The teaching and the training methodology should be solely centered on the three simultaneous pillars of listening, seeing and doing so as to have effective and efficient results academically. Such an approach will make the students more courageous, confident and competent.

A revolutionary change in our present educational system is the need of the hour. There should be more focus on creativity and innovative learning. Every student should be encouraged in his class room to write something of his own choice to nurture writing skills and as well as to unlock his creativity. He should be encouraged to come to the dais and speak few words so as to make him as an effective speaker. There should be quizzes, brainstorming, role playing, simulation and group discussions among the students. Every student should be encouraged to become a good reader, writer, listener and speaker as it helps him to do at the corporate world. All these things can not be achieved in overnight. The practice must start from the KG (kindergarten) level itself. There should not be any pressure to study but education ambience must be such that there is pleasure in learning.

There is no point in loading with lot of information and knowledge. Emphasis must be on quality not on quantity. Teach the topic and encourage the students to participate in group activities and discuss topic as it will help unlock their hidden talents spontaneously and also it helps to know what strength other students have towards the topic. Students should be taught and trained to think.

Story telling is an art. Humans would love to listen to stories. Each class should have a small story for a few minutes to arouse the interest in the students and along with the story the moral message can be sent and the subject can be taught gradually.

Taking lot of case studies and giving too many examples of our day to day life will help students to learn the subject as well as they will have feel of the practical world.

Socratic Method of teaching is one of the best ways of teaching. It means leaning by questioning. It helps the students to understand and grasp the contents much easily. When the question is posed by the students, the teacher must be in a position to articulate further questions to the students and should get the answers. It requires lot of involvement, enthusiasm on the part of the teacher to apply the tool and technique.


There is an adage in business, “People rise because of their hard skills and fall because of (the lack of) soft skills”. Hard skills are the domain skills and are also called technical skills. Soft skills are like non domain skills and anything other than the subjective knowledge that helps in effective communication, presentation, team building and leadership are known as soft skills. These are also known as emotional intelligence and the interpersonal skills. To put it in a nut shell, the soft skills and hard skills are two sides of the same coin and one without the other has no meaning.


Soft skills believe in nurture rather than nature. It manages the interacting between subtle and fickle human beings. It enhances the efficiency at the work place and minimizes the attrition rate. It always makes an individual stay ahead of time.

Soft skills enhance employability of the candidates and provide a solid ground to get adjusted and get along in the organizations more effectively and efficiently. These enhance the core competence and confidence of an individual. The growing widening gap between the talent supply and technical demand can be narrowed down. In a nut shell, proper training in soft skills creates more opportunities for the fresh candidates thereby minimizing the talent crunch in the job market.

There should be inclusion of soft skill subject in the academic curriculum so that students will have confidence and courage to communicate in the corporate world.

Infosys conducted 5 day work shop on Soft Skills titled Special Training Program (STP) for the teaching faculty in Hyderabad in 2007 and it is a step in the right direction and it shows the significance attached to the area of soft skills.


These days there is steady growth of corporate and soft skill trainers in India who work either full time or as freelance faculty. The companies are gradually realizing the importance of imparting right training to their employees so that they get updated, attuned with latest teaching and training methodologies and developments and stay competent and compete. All companies and especially IT and BPO companies where attrition is high have realized the role of corporate trainers and are hiring them to motivate their employees on continuity basis.

Conducting workshops, seminars and conferences periodically will help the employees release and relive from their routine burdens and monotony and they get recharged by corporate training activities and as a result they contribute the work with more energy and enthusiasm.


Try to become an all rounded personality. Focus on academic activities as well as on extra curricular activities. Balancing the both will make a complete personality. Lay stress on creative, innovative and practical method of learning where there can be blend of mind set, tool set and skill set so as to become a successful corporate professional.


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