Employer’s Estimates of Future Manpower Requirements
One of the parameters of demand for employment in a firm or a factory or an establishment is the level of capital investments, the others being technology in- place, and the type of products or its anticipated nature of diversification. In a remote way even the quality of infrastructure facilities such as markets, roads, communication etc. may also throw up demand for employment. However, the employer will not have any control over the support systems. The employer can definitely take into account the level of capital investments that is going to be made, the technology that is going to be adopted and the kind of products that are in view. Keeping these factors in mind, the labour required per unit of output can be assessed. For example, taking the case of an automobile accessory, the employer will, in the first instance, work out a project proposal along with a feasibility report taking into account the markets, availability of raw materials, competitive atmosphere, etc. In the subsequent stages manpower categories like number of designers, engineers, supervisors, shop floor workers, managers, accountants, clerks, market executives, sales workers, etc. are identified.
Given this information, the levels of educational skills that are in demand for each level of education can be assessed and aggregated for a given region. This would then indicate the nature of demand for education. If the trends in out-turn of educated persons from schools and colleges interested in employment are known then we will have information regarding supply in the given region. When information on demand will be juxtaposed with information on supply, then the gaps will guide the required future supply of educational skills. This in brief is the assumption underlying the employer’s estimation technique.
This method was employed all over India in 1978 when during the fourth year of the fifth Five Year Plan, a nation-wide project on vocationalisation of higher secondary education at the +2 stage in the 10+2+3 pattern of education had been launched. Specifically, in Karnataka State, a special grant was made to the Directorate of Vocational Education for undertaking a district-level survey of vocational needs. The employer’s estimate method was used for the purpose. Under this initiative, district vocational survey reports were prepared for all the 19 districts of the State. It is pertinent to record that the response to the questionnaires canvassed by the District Vocational Survey units to the firms, factories and establishments was quite low. It was hardly ten per cent. Still, data were subjected to usual analysis and recommendations for planning vocational education were made.
The question that arises from the limited response to this technique concerns its feasibility. Further, in a country where information on private incomes are not systematised and accounted for in taxation exercises it is understandable that the employers will not forward accurate information useful to obtain accurate estimates of value based variables like investment. In this situation of uncertainty, it would not be worthwhile to draw up the educational plan on the basis of simulations regarding the behaviour of the private sector. The private sector may behave in an unpredictable way in regard to product choice and extent of diversification of their activities. An educational planner or a manpower analyst cannot determine successfully on the investment expectations of the private sector. For these reasons, the technique of educational planning based on employer’s estimation has not found much favour.