Exams over - looking forward for the first job - Are you ready?
Exams are over and you are almost on the verge of becoming a Chartered Accountant – One of the most coveted and highly respected degrees. For this degree, you have worked so hard, burnt the mid-night oil, completed three years of strenuous articleship even if you had no fun doing it. Listened to your seniors despite some of them having no knowledge, but kya Karen….degree ke liye karna padta hai boss!!
This article is the first in the series highlighting the vagaries of life of a newly qualified Chartered Accountant, especially in relation to their employability. In this article, we have tried to showcase some of the trends that have been observed by Commerceshala in relation to the preparedness of CA students for their first jobs.
What is employability – Why is this term used so frequently these days and has it got anything to do with Chartered Accountancy.
Now-a-days it is quite common to read terms like employability, up-skilling, skill-gaps, industry-academia gap etc What is the relevance of these terms and why are they so talked about. On a careful reading, one can notice that these terms are more frequently used for fresh engineers and MBAs, typically highlighting the situation faced by the industry regarding the challenge faced in hiring, due to very poor employability.
The term ‘employability’ is defined by Wikipedia as “Person's capability for gaining and maintaining employment. For individuals, employability depends on the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) they possess, the way they present those assets to employers, and the context within which they seek work.
Though, the industry at large is facing these problems more with engineers and MBAs due to their sheer numbers, what we have noticed during the past 1-1.5 years is that this problem is now visible even with employers hiring newly qualified chartered accountants. One of the reasons cited is increased pass percentage which has led to the market flooded with new chartered accountants.
However, we believe that this is not completely true. What we have observed that the following factors have led lot of employers going slow on hiring newly qualified CAs, despite having vacancies:
1. Lack of training during articleship
With focus getting more on clearing examinations, it is quite visible that the students focusing more on academics than on practical training are increasingly facing challenge in getting their first good job. The importance of articleship is not farfetched and this aspect was also mentioned in our earlier article – “Should I Do Articleship or Take Dummy”
Not completing articleship is a serious issue which can have social ramifications, typically in the form of no/less jobs for CAs, thereby creating an environment of frustration and angst.
2. Poor communication/ soft skills
Another challenge increasingly being faced by employers is the inability of CAs to express themselves and consequently, not being able to secure points in interviews and group discussions. Though, this aspect is addressed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants through GMCS training, a lot more needs to be done, especially by the students themselves. If one has the confidence to speak good English, he/she can command better scores with better as he/she would be able to communicate with the employers. English cannot be mastered in 10-15 classes, though improvements can be made. One has to make consistent efforts over a longer period of time.
In addition to communication, both verbal and written, one also needs to imbibe good soft skills which include basic etiquette, hygiene, dressing etc. These skills are extremely important and are mark of a good professional.
3. Lack of general awareness
The other thing, though not prominent and prevalent across the CA student community is lack of general awareness about the socio-political and economic issues. Though, this lacking is noticed more in students from Tier-II and Tier-III cities, the same cannot be ruled out completely even in students from Metros. The reason probably is lack of formal infrastructure which inculcates a habit to interact and discuss, coupled with a very strong focus to clear examinations and not giving importance to this aspect.
However, as globalization is shrinking the world and companies tend to be more global in their approach, it is extremely important for students to garner awareness of the local as well as international issues to make them competitive.
As the results would be out by July, you still have some time to work on the above areas and we are sure that a conscious and consistent effort to pick and work upon the above skills would immensely benefit young CAs.
By: Nimish Goel
Nimish is a Chartered Accountant and a Company Secretary and has more than 11 years of experience. He has worked with KPMG in Europe and with PwC and E&Y in India. Nimish is the Co-Founder of Commerceshala, an initiative to help guide and mentor commerce students and help them in choosing the right career. Commerceshala also helps students in training and internships/ jobs. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and for more such articles you can visit commerceshala.blogspot.in