S Aditya, 21, a Bachelor of Engineering graduate, now works as a car parking Attendant in Chennai, promoting the Chennai Corporation's app for smart car parking among commuters at Pondy Bazaar for a salary of Rs 18,000 per month. This position actually requires just a Class 10 qualified candidate. But there are about 50 engineers and MBA holders who have taken up the same job outsourced to a private company.
Mr Aditya says he's not usurping the opportunity of a lesser qualified person. "If a Class 10 qualified boy or girl is doing this job, they would take four to five hours to explain the technology. We would take only two to three minutes," he said.
Rajesh, an MBA with 21 years of experience, has also joined as team leader, taking a 55 per cent salary cut after the firm he worked for shut down. He's the only breadwinner in his family and has a six-year-old child to look after.
"After MBA or BE, after finishing college there are no jobs. So if we are looking for a job even for less than Rs 10,000, people are willing to work," Rajesh said.
With jobs scarce, some 1,500 highly qualified candidates applied for the 50-odd jobs. The company offered jobs only for around 50.
B Rizwana Khathu, assistant project manager, SS Tech & Toorq Media Services, said that among the 1,000 members they have selected only 50 and have given them training.
Last year, 4,600 engineers, MBAs and research scholars had applied for 14 posts of sweepers at the Tamil Nadu assembly. The government had then denied it failed to generate employment.
D Jayakumar, Fisheries and Personnel Minister, had said the state has lots of scope and potential. "There is entrepreneurship. Lots of schemes. But everyone wants a government job because it's secure. Can the government give job for all 60 lakh people in five years?" he had said.
Many see this as yet another embarrassment for Tamil Nadu, with unemployed highly qualified graduates and postgraduates downgrading themselves, though the government claims creation of five lakh jobs besides massive investments.
Experts also say this is a reflection of the declining quality of education that churns out unskilled young men and women in big numbers.