One of the thought process I have been going through ever since I posted my previous (and only) post in June ’07(giving back to society in the area of education) is the notion of career/talent management for individual careers in Indian companies. Particularly, the fact that if you look at the talent lifecycle of an individual from start (say class X) to when he/she retires, there are may phases where right intervention in the form of counseling, training, education, or placement can make the difference between a great career and a mediocre one. In my mind, this will require an integrated ecosystem of career counseling, education systems (formal, vocational, short-term courses) and placement services. I have been blogging about it on my blog site and the first post describes these initial thought processes. Sanjoy had a different definition of career management here if you want to compare these two definitions.

After those initial thoughts, I have been spending time in understanding what these individual segments of industry in India are doing towards such an integrated eco-system and I am surprised by the data I have got (based primarily on internet search since I am currently in US):

  • There is very little traction on career counseling. As an industry, this seems very underdeveloped, and most of the references I found were of offline-presence only. Of those counseling companies, most seem to deal with education guidance part of counseling (“I am a B.Sc. in Bio-technology, what jobs can I get after this?” kind) and not on career-related problems (“My manager is difficult to work with because he is impatient, how do I ensure my career is in good hands?” kind).
  • Job portals (naukri, monster, etc) have very little presence in career guidance/counselling area, even though almost every site has a ‘career zone’. In my view, career counseling should be a strong point of these portals and a differentiating factor if done well, but I do not see traction on these sections of these portals. Most of them contain a few generic career guidance articles and then bunch of useless user-generated content.
  • Most of the short-term training course institutes are competing on price (“C# course in Rs. 1400/-) and not on how effective they are in getting you a job or make you successful in your existing job. I tried very hard to get some data, but it seems to be totally missing.
  • Even though there are lots of private colleges, I found very few of them getting into short-term vocational courses which get you job or make you successful in one. The model that works great in US is the notion of community colleges which provide reliable, affordable and targeted courses for various careers and this helps job-seekers and professionals alike, this seems to be completely missing.
  • These lead me to believe that if my definition of career management is correct, career management as an industry is pretty broken in Indian environment (when I tried to get similar integration data for US, it didn’t yield any better results, but my focus is India and hence the comment). Given that there is so much of talent shortage and demand for talent, it surprises me that there aren’t more innovative ideas coming up to solve it.

    I am wondering if it is lack of online data which leads me to this conclusion, or is it indeed the case? And if so, why aren’t startups/existing companies trying to do something about it? Or is the notion of career management=integrated eco-system a flawed notion?

    I will love to hear your opinion and comments on this, and if there is any data/resources you can point me to, it will be great.