India’s Unemployment Crisis – The Post-Graduate Delivering Food

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We’ve a cry that really, something must be done about employment in India. The government must get on with creating jobs for there’s this disturbing incident of a graduate delivering food as a side gig – or even his main gig. That not being quite the lesson that should be taken from this, rather, it’s the education system we need to sort out, producing people with the skills that people wish to employ.

There is absolutely no point in creating industries or firms which then employ people with the skills that the education system is churning out. That’s not how value is added nor wealth attained. Instead, we want the education system turning out people who add value, people will happily employ them to do so.

A Kolkata college student’s hard-hitting post on the need to create more jobs has gone viral online. “Probably the only time I regret ordering food from Zomato,” wrote Shouvik Dutta on Facebook after discovering that his meal was delivered to him by a man who had a postgraduate degree in commerce.
Shouvik says in his post that he was taken aback to see that Meraj, who was delivering his food order, was a postgraduate in commerce. He also recalls what he calls the “most embarrassing” moment of his life – when Meraj delivered his order and asked for a good rating. “We had a quick chat were I got to know he was an M.Com graduate from Calcutta University and also done PGDM in Finance or Investment banking or something similar,” wrote Shouvik.

Yes, obviously it’s sad that a graduate is working on a food delivery route. But what’s the solution here?

It isn’t that we need to create jobs that match the skills the universities are churning out. It’s the other way around – the colleges need to be teaching people things that potential employers wish to hire.

Think of it this way. It’s a standing joke in the US that an arts degree qualifies you to be a barista at Starbucks. For the clear and obvious reason that the country produces many more arts graduates than there are jobs for them. Just about the only arts graduate job being to teach the next generation of arts graduates. So, many who are so trained need to go do something else for a living which is how we manage that problem.

Now think of what would happen the other way around, we deliberately set up firms to employ those trained. That would mean entire companies staffed by those who majored in grievance studies. That’s not the way to produce wealth now, is it?

If there are graduates who cannot gain employment that’s an error in the education system, not in the wider economy. Given that’s where the problem is then that’s also where the solution is going to be.