Over the years the automobile industry in India has been growing at a steady pace. With people from all walks of life aspiring to own a vehicle, the demand for vehicles has increased manifold. In keeping with this demand, India is now expected to become the third largest passenger vehicle market by 2021.
Demand for quality people
To compete and meet the requirements of the demand, the industry requires qualified and talented people joining its ranks. However, what the industry is getting are those who are not competent enough and require further training to become proficient. “A reasonably good number of students who start their studies are academically unprepared for higher studies. There are many reasons for this. Poor basic and secondary education, regional backwardness and myopia in the selection of proper academic system are some of the basic causes why the students struggle when they are out of college,” says Prof. K.P.V Ramana Kumar, Dean, FMS, SCSVMV University.
The other challenge comes from the lack of quality teachers and the inadequate infrastructure. “Dearth of quality teachers and ineffective infrastructure give rise to a situation where even though the students are educated, they are still unemployed because they are not worthy of employment,” Prof. Ramanakumar added.
In order to find a viable solution to the above-mentioned problems, it is essential that the academia and the industry come together. “Institutions should provide students with internships, live projects, corporate and industrial visits etc. Welcoming the corporate, industrial experts to spend time with students and faculty members for improvements etc., are also needed,” says Dr. V M Ponniah, Dean, School of Management, SRM University, adding, “industries should be more open to students and put opportunities on the table to build a good relationship with their potential employees.”
Improvement of faculty has an important role to play when it comes to academia-industry involvement. “Faculty immersion in various industries periodically will also add value to the teaching learning process,” says Dr. Pooniah.
What the industry expects
The automobile industry has a lot of scope. The industry has various offerings in management, engineering, logistics and many other domains. Those who are interested in working in the automobile industry should remember that there is cut-throat competition in the industry and competence is not the only parameter for hiring. “At GM, technical competence is the price for entry but what differentiates the candidates who get hired from those who do not, is their creativity, adaptability and learning agility,” says Ritu Chatterjee, HR Head, GM India (read the full interview given alongside).
Where to study?
The automobile industry has varied job roles in management, engineering, logistics and HR. So there are a number of institutions where candidates can complete their studies in any of the related areas and join the automobile industry. For management, the top institutes are the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Management Development Institute Gurgaon, XLRI.
For engineering, in particular automobile engineering, some of the top colleges in India are IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Roorkee and College of Engineering Pune, and BITS Pilani.
What to study
For management students who are interested in getting into the automobile industry, they can do BBA and after that MBA. Some of the popular MBA courses that are preferred in the automobile industry are HR, sales and marketing, logistics, supply chain management and general management.
Students who want to pursue a career in the automobile industry should go for automobile engineering. Some of the area specialisation in automobile engineering are automotive design and manufacturing, engine principles, fluid mechanics and machinery, modern vehicle technology, vehicle technology and dynamics, computer-based systems and electronics, vehicle and pedestrian safety.
Pursuing a management course (MBA) from top B-Schools such as IIMs, MDI, XLRI and SIBM will cost anywhere between Rs. 21 lakhs- 27 lakhs. Pursuing an engineering course from top engineering institutes such as IITs and BITS Pilani or College of Engineering Pune will cost anything between Rs. 60,000 per semester to Rs. 1.5 lakhs per semester, depending on the institute, whether the institute is government-run or a private one.
The automobile industry has a lot of scope for candidates from all backgrounds. Management students can get into various domains of the automobile industry. There is a huge demand for quality people not just in India, but also abroad. Almost all the major automobile brands in India have opened their operations in India, hence, there is a huge scope in the automobile industry.
From being an automobile engineer to an operations manager to Human Resource executive, the opportunities are immense in the automobile industry. The salary can be anything between Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 12 lakhs per annum, depending on the experience, job profile, educational qualification and the company where the person is working. Some of the top recruiters in the automobile sector are Hero Moto Corp, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hyundai and Ashok Leyland.
“Make Students Industry Ready,” says Shefali Raj, Managing Director, PSIT Kanpur
The main aim of engineering education today is moulding and furnishing students to be ready to face the challenges and responsibilities in their future. This, therefore, requires education to be value based with the ability to synthesize the morals of the student individually.
It has been very compelling to the education system to give high-quality education which meets the international standards with regard to the global demands, technology and scenario on the inception of skills on the input side and the fast-changing products and services on the output side. It’s a very unfortunate case that majority of institutes have not featured in top list with the main reasons being lack of advanced teaching and learning process, reduced investments and missing out on research involvement.
The acquisition of employment in the competitive environment and sustaining the same demands a high degree of adaptability in today’s fresh engineers. The quick and dynamic changes in the industry globally may be attributed to the workforce worldwide, dynamically changing specifications of products and services, heightened competition and changing technology. Employers prefer to hire young and energetic engineers who have the potential of sensible resourcefulness. The institute should mainly focus on improving the students on domain knowledge, programming languages, technical skills, aptitude, practical application, soft skills, communication skills, learning skills, time management, problems solving, analytical skills etc.
The institutes should give exposure to skills that grow the ability to build a good rapport, work efficiently and interact with others effectively. Skills that develop the student’s ability to expand thinking such as analysis and evaluation of discussions should also be developed. Dedicated training should be given to improve recognition and respect for others beliefs behaviour and attitude and exposure to improve the ability to identify and analyze difficult problems under pressure and make a reliable evaluation.
Expert Interview with Ritu Chatterjee, HR Head, General Motors India
Careers360: What are the HR perspectives you keep in mind while going for campus recruitment?
Ritu Chatterjee: We look for people who think differently, are willing to make a difference by speaking truth respectively.
Careers360: Do you have tie-ups with higher education institutions in India?
Ritu Chatterjee: We are actively engaged with universities in developing their curriculum, and partnering with the institutes on co-teaching. We hire students as interns from the institutes, and provide an opportunity working on live projects (3 months to 11 months). There are many instances where students who worked with us as interns and joined GM after completing their education.
Careers360: How many institutions do you visit every year?
Ritu Chatterjee: 10+ institutes, majorly hiring from IITs and other colleges.
Careers360: Could you briefly outline your India recruitment policy?
Ritu Chatterjee: Students have to go through online workplace behavioral assessment, technical discussion followed by behavioral interview and HR discussion respectively.
Careers360: Do Indian candidates meet your expectations? Do you have any training programmes to make them job-ready?
Ritu Chatterjee: We find the candidates very capable, we support them with various programs like “Campus to Corporate” to make them job-ready for us.
Careers360: Do you keep in mind global positions while hiring from India?
Ritu Chatterjee: GMTCI India predominantly caters to global engineering work, and which means that anybody working for us has to fit in the global GM culture and exhibit GM behaviours.
Careers360: Any short-term/long-term recruitment plans?
Ritu Chatterjee: Campus hire is part of our short-term and long-term recruitment plan, however, we can’t disclose the numbers.