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"Employability of Accountants" - A cause of worry - A survey by NASSCOM revealed that every 26th graduate in the country is unemployable, shocking but a reality which is causing shivers to the corporate world. Earlier, the burgeoning population of the country was a cause of concern, which has now translated into ensuring their employability. With the Indian economy growing at more than 8%, the problem of plenty is not a cause of concern, rather the country now needs workforce to manage this growth. As they say "Demographic dividend should not translate into Demographic curse". Millions of students are enrolling into various professional courses including chartered accountancy, company secretary ship, MBA etc, but the big question is are the professionals and graduates churned out by the system ready for corporate jobs?

The primary reason for such a fear can be attributed to the primitive academic programmes running across the Universities and colleges and perhaps low or nil focus on personality development. The importance of soft skills cannot be ruled out considering that technical skills (or the hard skills as they are referred) can only help a person land into a job interview, but performance in the interview cannot be guaranteed by the candidate's good grades. A very valid question which keep worrying the recruiters is - "Will he able to communicate his performance to the client or to his colleagues in an impressive manner"? Our experience in various coaching centers, colleges and universities reveal that good communication skills are mostly lacking in the students and across the verticals like CAs, MBAs, BBA, lawyers etc.

The problem is significantly higher in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where emphasis on soft skills is very low. Students are only loaded with technical stuff, exams, projects etc, but when it comes to articulation of their results, the result is not very encouraging. The importance of soft skills is not only in the beginning of one's career, but the same permeates throughout the professional life. As one starts progressing in career, the importance of soft skills keeps on increasing with increase in public dealing and an increased interaction with the clients and peer colleagues.

Soft skills are not only restricted to communication skills, but include various other skills including:

i. How to perform in interviews;

ii. Preparing the right resume - which helps you get noticed;

iii. Preparing for group discussions;

iv. Interpersonal skills;

v. Written communication - business writing, e-mail writing etc;

vi. Business etiquette;

vii. Leadership and management skills;

viii. Creative thinking etc.

So if you think you lack in any of the above, then it might probably be the right the time now to approach a training organization. Start early!

The behavioral traits to change from what is developed over the lifetime require immense hard work and dedication. Family background, communication channels, quality of the college/university and of course the mindset plays a very important role in picking up the relevance of soft skills. What is important is that the student should realize his/her shortcomings and it should be realized early. Apart from formal training, the students should create enough opportunities for themselves either by way of participating in team activities, college fests, seminars, debates etc. It is important that one should observe one's behaviour in the group and relate it to with the others. Introspection is thus, important. Can a formal training improve my personality?

A common question which occurs in students mind is whether it's possible to enhance soft skills in a few hours/weeks of training, especially when one has lived with those traits all his life. The answer to this question is harsh that a professional who wants to do well in his career does not really have a choice. Right from leaving college, a professional student has to have good soft skills to do well in life. In the initial years of your career, your technical abilities are important to get good assignments and when it comes to growth, it is your personality that matters, more so in large organizations where several people will compete for one single promotion. Formal training can assist in adding a lot of shine to one's personality. Soft skills training not only involve imparting lectures, but at the same time involve extensive role plays, group discussions, theatre, outdoor activities etc. The idea is to take out or remove the "fear" of speaking in public, honing the skills, preparing well for the interviews and start thinking as a business leader.

By: Nimish Goel

Nimish is the co-founder of Promaynov Executive Trainers LLP, a training organization actively involved in conducting extensive workshops and seminars on employability enhancement measures for CAs, CA students and professionals in various Universities and colleges. Promaynov also imparts training to Commerce and Arts graduates and 12th pass students on various accounting and taxation modules.

You can reach him on nimish.goel@promaynov.com.

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