I participated in a job fair a couple of days ago, and learnt so much that I wasn’t prepared to learn. I saw how convoluted our education system is, and how twisted and desperate it’s made our graduates. Also, how difficult it is to find jobs and how the pressure transforms even the respectable into shameless persons.
Let’s take it one at a time. It was my first time attending a job fair as a recruiter, on behalf of my employer. I arrived a little late and the first thing I noticed when I walked in was our stall groaning with a mob clamouring to shove resumes at my colleague. The volume of the crowd stunned me. I had expected a maximum of two hundred people visiting our stall over the course of the day, but in reality, we had two hundred people in the booth at any time during most of the day—from 10 am to 6 pm.
Every person had the same look and the same mentality: to give out their resumes no matter what role we needed. Most of them were fresh graduates, eager (read desperate) to land a job, and it didn’t matter that we needed technical qualifications and experience they don’t possess. Some of the folks I spoke to were blatant and honest: they needed a job, any job they can get. They didn’t mind which city they’d work in, they didn’t mind which role, the compensation we’d offer, the responsibilities they’d undertake, or the amenities they’d receive. I collected over hundred resumes of such fresh graduates. And it amused me—how flexible they are, their eyes screaming a yearning to find a job regardless of all that matters.
That’s when I realised it’s the fate of most graduates in India. We’ve colleges in every other street, with almost every politician chairing a chain of educational institutions. The result is an army of graduates, few qualified but most of them mediocre, unable to find proper jobs that pay what they deserve. And so to make up for lost time and time, these graduates hunt for whatever jobs they can find. From there stems the desperation that reeks through their skins.
But collecting these resumes, promising them I’d forward them to my team knowing well that I wouldn’t, I could only squirm with disgust. I know I shouldn’t blame them for almost-begging for jobs. I know they have no choice, that they have loads of loans to pay off, and parents who moan at their unworthy degree. This system’s been around far too long to change in a heartbeat. I doubt it’ll ever change. Until each of these graduates realises—before they fall into the pit—how futile it is to take up an expensive, once-prestigious, course in a country that’s made education an unaffordable bounty, and replaced quality with cheap textbooks, and campus buildings in disarray.