This blog will attempt to capture my thoughts, views, and readings on defining a new industry for India which focuses on Career management and talent optimization for Individuals. I will call this “Managing Individual Talent (MInT)” industry, I define MInT (to be efficient, I will call it Mint hereafter) as a new and evolving industry in India which is concerned with the entire lifecycle of an individual as he/she grows moves from Class X to job retirement, and everything in between that relates to the career, education, and optimizing talent. This is a superset of various industries like career counseling, various types of training and placement services, job portals, etc. Mint is becoming more important because of huge gap between supply and demand of capable engineers in IT sector and other growing parts of India economy. This gap can be traced to many reasons:
1. There is a dearth of good grooming companies who can prepare a college graduate for the right placement.
2. College curriculum in many cases have little or no correlation with real industry demands, which means that even grooming companies will not be helpful for such students.
3. Students pick the courses not based on their interest and choice, but due to social, economical and cultural reasons (“my father wants me to be a doctor”, “how can I study hotel management, it feels so downgrading”, “medical education is too expensive”). Hence, in many cases, even good colleges and curriculum do not prepare students for the job market.
4. Getting a good job is considered an end, so enough attention is not paid to the kind of growth, learning and opportunities offered by the job. This means some high-potential job-seekers can end up getting into a stagnating job and hence remain under-employed.
Consider this: IT industry alone has a shortfall of 250,000 skilled engineers every year. This is a huge gap which requires wholesale changes and interventions, band-aids of short-term courses (“C# in Rs. 1400”, “pay and get experience certificate”, “get your resume written by experts”) will not suffice. If India has to become a global economy, Mint has to evolve into a big and important industry.
Most of the sub-industries I mention above are big and evolving industries on their own, so you might think why Mint makes sense, and who am I to propose such a merged industry. Let me answer the second question first: After working in a leading learning and talent management company for almost 5 years, I have developed an appreciation of the acute need of high-potential, motivated, skilled engineers, and have seen how these existing industries do a poor job of addressing the need in any holistic manner. Also, solving talent management problems for corporates (through our software products) also gives me understanding about what might solve this shortage that we are facing, even though these problem domains are quite different. This, and given the fact that I have the privilege of working with some of the smallest and largest companies of the world, gives me quite good perspective on what the demand looks like and what a holistic solution might look like. I increasingly feel that talent for each individual should be managed with the goal of optimizing their talent, and such supply gaps will automatically go away for most of the industries.
To the first question now: why these sub-industries are not enough to solve this problem. As I mentioned, most of the players have short-term goal of maximizing their returns from their transaction: the individual wants the highest-paying job as soon as possible, not the best-fit one, the placement agency wants to give a job to the job-seeker and move to the next one, career counselors (if they get involved) mostly act as brokers between job seekers and employers rather than a mentor to the job seeker in true sense, training companies want to teach the most ‘sellable’ skill, not necessarily the most appropriate. No wonder the whole goal of the industry is to be fast-moving, and not sustaining.
I hope you will go on this journey with me while we define this new industry with a focus on India (even though this should be applicable to other parts of the world). Your comments will help me and others evolve our thoughts on this together. I will capture some of the following thoughts in my subsequent postings:
1. What are the components of this industry?
2. How is this different from (Employee )Talent Management industry that corporations are getting so aware of these days?
3. How is this industry unique to India, at least in the way it is shaping up right now, and how does it contrast with US.
Let me know if you would like me to comment on some other aspects.