How do you think India can meet the aspirations of its young people?

For young Indians, we need to see growth. Growth has to come back. The Prime Minister has talked about Make in India. We could very well be the factory to the rest of the world. Jobs need to be created. Services sector has done its share. The reason I emphasize on manufacturing is because manufacturing creates wealth for the country, creates assets and long-term value for the country. So 8-9-10% growth will create huge employment and meet the aspirations of the young people. India has the youngest population in the world, there has to be a job market for them. If the government does not do that, I hate to think what the youth would do to this country. So it is very important that we get the growth back.

Companies and recruiters speak of a skill gap that they encounter when they hire entry-level people. How can this gap be addressed?

When we talk about skill gap, we need to qualify that. The skill gap does not exist for the students that come out of the IITs or IIMs. It is the plethora of engineering and management schools that have opened up which have really not geared to provide the kind of education that the industry is looking for. It is very important—I personally do it a lot—to interact with students, universities, professors, with the directors, how can they redo the course content so that they prepare people for the job market and the real world outside. So there has to be close interaction between industry and universities and colleges.

What are the three things you look for in a young person you are considering for a position?

(One of the) three things one will be looking for is, of course, his educational qualification. Unfortunately—I am sorry to say this—but in today’s world, we look at the university or the institution he comes from. Because there are a plethora of institutions that have opened up and not all of them are putting out quality people. The second thing we look at is, we try to understand the person’s disposition, whether he is the right fit for the job we are looking for. Sometimes, you could make a disaster of a recruitment for hiring a person for the wrong job. That does not mean the person is useless, it is the management that made the mistake. You must make sure the fit is right. The third thing you look at is whether his background fits with the culture of your organization so he can contribute to your organisation.

Most young people have, over the past decade-and-a-half, gravitated towards jobs in the services sector. Do you see that changing?

That is already changing. I come from a manufacturing sector. For a while, we were having great difficulty in getting people. Today, they are all coming back. While the services sector offers you tremendous opening opportunity when you join a job and pays you good salary, but down the road there is very limited opportunity. Not everybody in India is a Narayana Murthy (Infosys co-founder). So there are limitations. Whereas in manufacturing, there is a much wider opportunity, so people have realized this and I see them gravitating back to manufacturing sector. They again want to dirty their hands and get down to it. In services, the charm is there but now they have realized it is manufacturing where the future lies.

What is the one piece of advice you’d like to give young people?

Whatever they decide to do while entering the marketplace, they must have a passion for it. Whatever assignment they take, they must not look at it as a job. If the passion is missing, they will never succeed. On a Monday morning, they should wake up and say “Wow, it is the beginning of the week" and not say “Oh my god, it is Monday morning". That is what I think is the key to success.

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