|CAREER GUIDE||Friday, October 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
have reason to smile
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Golden Quadrilateral Project and North East Express Highway has given a fillip to the career prospects of civil engineering students. The cut in interest rates on housing loans during the recent past, which has given a thrust to construction activity, has also generated the demand for civil engineers and diploma holders in civil engineering for project conceptualisation, designing and execution and quality testing.
Says Mr G.P.S. Maan, General Manager, Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, "Since the government is giving top priority to the development of core infrastructure, including roads and bridges, multiplexes, real estate and housing, the career prospects of civil engineers have vastly improved." At least for the next 10 years, the career prospects for civil engineers are bright in the country.
He adds till recently, there used to be 20 or 25 big construction companies in the country. Now the number has crossed the 100-mark, he says. These are always looking for experienced engineers to execute projects worth crores.
Market experts admit that the era of jobs in engineering in the government sector, whether in public health, irrigation or public works departments, is over. Ample job opportunities are coming up in the private sector, they add.
After doing B.Tech from college, one can look for jobs in road projects, building work, consultancy firms, quality testing laboratories or housing societies. The experts say there is a high demand for experienced civil engineers in developed countries. Hundreds of civil engineers migrate from the region to Canada, Australia and other countries.
According to an estimate, over 50,000 new jobs in the civil engineering sector are coming up every year across the country in the private sector. The Centre has announced to invest over Rs 50,000 crore in the infrastructure sector in the next few years.
The National Highway Authority of India and state government agencies are giving contracts worth thousands of crores to private companies to construct roads and bridges. These are generating new jobs for civil engineers.
Demand for competence
Says Mr R.S. Matharoo, Project Manager, Pearl Bid Infrastructure Limited, "The mushroomed growth of engineering colleges in the region has, no doubt, given more opportunities to students to become engineers, but private companies are looking for intelligent, hard-working, dedicated and qualified engineers. There is no shortage of jobs for those who are ready to take up the challenge to work on time-bound high-quality projects." He adds that besides the name of the college, it is the competence and experience of the candidate that helps him get good jobs.
Mr Kishlay Kant, who has done engineering from Pune, says, "After obtaining a degree from a good college, one can expect a salary of between Rs 6,000 and Rs 10,000 at the entry level. A diploma holder will get between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 on an average. After three or four years’ experience on good projects, one can earn up to Rs 20,000 per month."
In fact, some project managers, adds
Mr Matharoo, with management and accountancy skills, are earning up to
Rs 1 lakh per month. Some have started their independent construction
companies. There is no ceiling for the right candidates to progress in
Job hunt, a full-time job!
Q Two years after completing my Master’s, I still haven’t managed to land a meaningful job. Should I opt for whatever option comes my way or should I continue my search?
A Looking for the right job is a tough process. In fact, it’s a full-time job in itself.
The process can be tiring, frustrating and often demoralising. As a result, we often settle for the first thing that comes our way, even if it falls short of the ideal. The fact is we hate rejection. But it’s an inevitable part of the process. Remember: nothing ventured, nothing gained! Chances of landing a job you love without working hard to find it are rare today.
Also, don’t get stuck on the notion that there’s only one job in the world that’s right for you. Be clear about your skills and interests. At the same time, be flexible about how and where you’ll apply them.
Making cold calls to contacts and firing off covering letters may work when unemployment is at a low. And networking may be great for extroverts, but not everyone is up to it. Also, there is less tolerance for networking because employers are tired of answering phones and talking to people who just want their help in finding jobs.
Instead use the same competitive intelligence that companies do to scout rivals and potential customers.
Use the Internet for doing background research on potential companies to land a job that doesn’t even exist. And there’s nothing complex about it. Just boils down to being curious about your chosen field and looking for ways to be of use. Similarly, you can smartly use competitive intelligence to win promotions. Try it out.
Bank PO exam
Q I will be completing my BCom this year. After this, I would like to take the Bank Probationary Officer’s exam. Could you please tell me about the selection procedure.
Shiv Luthra, Faridkot
A Earlier nationalised banks used to recruit Bank Probationary Officers (POs) through a common written test and interview conducted by the Banking Service Recruitment Board.
However, the BSRB has been wound up and the centralised PO exam discontinued. So the earlier route to secured well-paying jobs in public sector banks is a thing of the past.
Banks now conduct their own exams as per their requirements depending on the kind of staff they require. For instance, the Central Recruitment Department of the State Bank Group now conducts recruitment for the SBI and its associate banks for POs, specialist officers, managers and the clerical grade staff. Similarly, other banks issue their own recruitment ads. The exams test your reasoning, quantitative aptitude, English usage and general awareness.
Private banking is expanding at a rapid pace. Typically, a good MBA degree or a specialisation in finance like MFC, or CA or CFA with excellent communication skills is the desired qualification for challenging jobs in marketing, financial consulting, bank operations and management in these competitive new-generation banks. The routine back-office jobs are now increasingly outsourced.
Some international banks do recruit fresh graduates with good communication skills and the ability to handle numerical data for their subsidiaries which serve as global support centres for processing their trade and cash management transactions in their branches all over the world.
Banking is undergoing rapid transformation due to globalisation of financial markets and computerisation of operations (including ATMs, tele-banking, etc). There is tremendous competition in this sector to come up with innovative customer-friendly schemes. For instance, the UTI plans to launch 50 new branches in the current financial year, while other public sector banks are expanding their branches to semi-urban and rural areas. Besides attractive packages, they offer good perks and annual increments.
Q I have graduated in political science this year with history. I wish to do an MBA and am working hard to crack CAT. Is it possible for a student of humanities to get into a good B-school?
A Despite its obsession with optimisation techniques and information technology, management studies - essentially remains a "social science". It deals with people, teams, organisations and social and economic institutions. Which is why the study of modern social and economic history, and social structure is compulsory at the best B-schools.
Good B-schools prefer a class composed of students from multi-disciplinary disciplines. Unfortunately, a greater proportion of bright students in India head for pure sciences and technology and this is reflected in the composition of those who ace CAT. However, in the last decade brighter students have also begun to opt for commerce and social science streams and such students are increasingly joining MBA courses.
There is no reason for students from social sciences to feel they can’t make it, or that B-schools discriminate against them. B-schools are always keen to get bright students.
Increasingly, numerical and analytical or deductive skills based on mathematical analysis are required in all fields, including social sciences and management studies. CAT and subsequently, the MBA programme only reflect these trends.
As a social science student you must work hard to acquire these supplementary skills to get through the CAT. But on the flipside, in the GD and interview you are likely to have an edge over your pure science and engineering counterparts who generally have a limited understanding of social trends and issues.
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Editor, Query Hotline,