Came across this post Top Indian CEO: Most American Grads Are ‘Unemployable’ leading to some substantial discussion (not all of it impassionate). I would first like to clarify that I am assuming the content in the post to be accurate based on the fact that other Indian sites are reporting that “No response or clarification from Nayar has as yet been issued”. Moreover it is not targeted against Mr. Nayar or HCL but to the suggested thought process which attempts to make process orientation so critically important overriding many other qualities.
What perhaps hasn’t been clearly stated but is important is that that the standards for employability here are set by the employing organisation based on its context and preferences which may be different from standards required by many other organisations and I would submit that the statement ought to be looked at in that context as well.
To quote from the article :
The official wanted to know why HCL, a $2.5 billion (revenue) company with more than 3,000 people across 21 offices in 15 states, wasn’t hiring more people in his state. Vineet’s short answer: because most American college grads are “unemployable.” (In fairness to HCL, the company recently announced plans to open a delivery center in another state, North Carolina, and invest $3.2 million and hire more than 500 employees there over the next five years under a Job Development Investment Grant.)
Many American grads looking to enter the tech field are preoccupied with getting rich, Vineet said. They’re far less inclined than students from developing countries like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Ireland to spend their time learning the “boring” details of tech process, methodology, and tools–ITIL, Six Sigma, and the like.
As a result, Vineet said, most Americans are just too expensive to train–despite the Indian IT industry’s reputation for having the most exhaustive boot camps in the world. To some extent, he said, students from other highly developed countries fall into the same rut.
So why are some graduates are unemployable ?
Some of these are folks who are working on creating tons of new languages (Java, C#, Scala, Closure, Erlang, Python etc.), Operating Systems (Linux, Mac and Windows), frameworks for web applications, clustering, fault tolerance and scalability, schemaless and distributed databases to ensure availability and fault tolerance at a wide scale, competing messaging architectures that each service a particular problem differently etc. etc. Would you believe it some have set up clusters of hundreds of thousands of machines and service search requests very rapidly. And some others are working on creating innovative and disruptive models in social networking, application integration, peer to peer networking etc. Many are working out next generation mobile technologies including building (not building on) android, iphone OS and the palm (whatever OS it has). And so many in their spare time are spending a whole bunch of time creating open source software, blogging and micro blogging about all the work they have done and sharing it with the wide world so that they can learn off it. And if these are consumer and technology stories, there are a whole bunch of people building critical business infrastructure architectures and frameworks and solutions as well. Even after you complete reading this post and come back to it a month from now, I shall still be busy trying to figure out what exactly India has been able to deliver that can challenge this. Of course let’s not miss out on the fact that most of these activities are conducted by fairly small sized teams. (I am aware some of the examples I quote could have non-american heritage, but that per se is not likely to detract from the issue)
Let’s call a spade a spade. When you have large or very large software construction and maintenance contracts, there are multiple ways to deal with it. In my experience, many Indian companiess have honed to a fine art the process of recruiting, deploying and juggling large armies of programmers to service such expectations (not all Indian companies are based on the same model). Many companies have indeed managed to acquire, retain and expand customer engagements through a combination of technology and business innovation. And they have done a good job of it in the context they’ve defined for themselves. In my limited understanding and experience it is not technology innovation, creativity or extraordinary technical prowess that is at the top of the list of skills that get deployed (though these are indeed found in sufficient levels across the board and some of the prowess can be impressive) - it’s the clockwork project management and business methodologies, techniques and innovation (and even these do result in projects with delays) with their reliance on “another brick in the wall” that gets the customer serviced.
So, if true, the “employable” was perhaps in that context. If so based on the earlier two paragraphs, I submit it reflects positively and negatively on the employing organisation. Perhaps even more so than the graduates themselves. I do wonder if “incompatible” would have been a better choice of word. And I wonder what it reflected more poorly upon, as well who should be feeling more sad about it.
Disclaimer : These views are mine, mine alone and should not be puported to be shared by any other people or companies I’ve been associated with in the past, present or the future.