Undergraduates in agriculture and allied discipline, after completion of their degree, opt to join the different professional jobs depending on their preferences and the existing situations. Though they have a wide range of careers options, each one has their own preference in choosing their careers. But due to the prevailing situations, agricultural graduates are forced to take up career in administrative services and commercial banks rather than teaching, research and extension careers; they are low interested take entrepreneurship and agriculture farming. Considering this, present study conducted in Telangana state purposively to know the undergraduates career preferences. Government service in their major field is the most preferred career of agriculture and veterinary final year undergraduate students. Horticulture undergraduates preferred career was also government employment but in non-major field. Dairy technology undergraduates mostly preferred to work in private companies. Entrepreneurship and agriculture farming were least preferred career undergraduate students of all disciplines. The results revealed that only a few undergraduates had a preference to take own business as occupation. This may be due to the risk and insecurity attached to the self-employment at the same time government service has high social status and low risky job. The Fifth Deans Committee has given detailed curriculum of student READY programme for all the disciplines in agriculture and allied sciences. The course curricula have been restructured to develop much needed skills and entrepreneurial mind-set among the graduates to take up self-employment, contribute to enhanced rural livelihood and food security, sustainability of agriculture and be propeller for agricultural transformation.
Career planning is very essential for peaceful living and quality of life. An individual work satisfaction and earning of money according to his needs therefore, one should take care of cognitive level of person, personality make up need patterns and value system, etc. Career decision making is of critical importance as every student needs to choose his or her area of professional specialization after completion of their graduation. Career choice has become a complex science with the advent of information technology, the emergence of post industrial revolution and job competition. Lack of necessary information about technical fields’ affect career decision making, knowledge in career would help the student to be focused and clear about his or her career choice (Mohd et al., 2010).
Concept of Career Development
Career development is a process that begins from an early age, continues through adulthood and post retirement careers. The main features of career development are-
The system adopted in agricultural colleges play the vital role in preparing the agricultural students in the latest scientific and technical knowledge of agriculture through judicious training, motivating the students to take up agriculture farming or to serve as extension agents and there by act as a constant source of guidance and inspiration to the farming community, after completion of their studies. Agricultural and allied sector graduates with a high competency in advanced and scientific farming can take up leadership role in transformation of agriculture from primitive and subsistence level to that of scientific and commercial proposition. The recent technological inventions in agriculture and advent of globalization have considerably enlarged the scope of agriculture and consequently resulted in several new job opportunities for graduates in agriculture and allied sectors in semi-government autonomous and commercial institutions besides government employment opportunities. The demand of competent people has increased to meet the need for development in the context of WTO. Students of agriculture and allied disciplines, after completion of their degree, opt to join the different professional jobs depending on their preferences and the existing situations. Though they have a wide range of careers options, each one has their own preference in choosing careers. But due to the prevailing situations, agricultural graduates are forced to take up career in administrative services and commercial banks rather than teaching, research and extension careers; they are low interested take entrepreneurship and agriculture farming. They differ in their attitude on rural oriented careers though the expertise gained by them is vital for rural development. Hence, it is of great significance to study the present trend of career preferences of agricultural and allied undergraduates.
The occupational pattern among agricultural and veterinary graduates indicates a very low level of entrepreneurship among agricultural and veterinary graduates. Till the past decade, public sector provided vast career opportunities in education, research and extension. While the numbers of jobs in the public sector were on the decline, jobs in other sectors like banking, NGOs, private sector input companies, R&D labs etc. have opened up. A very low percentage of self-employed graduates indicate that the present system of education lacks market orientation (Rao, 2005) with saturation in public sector jobs, the universities have not looked into the demands of other employment sectors. The skills and knowledge imparted by the SAUs and other institutions are, apparently, neither adequately relevant to changing job market nor directly useful to create self-employment. As a consequence, raising unemployment among undergraduates prevails.
Currently, almost every graduate looks for a white-collar job preferably in public sector but, job opportunities in government sector are shrinking faster than the number of graduates. According to an estimate (IAMR, 2001), 43 percent of the graduates and 23 per cent of postgraduates find difficulty in accessing gainful employment. Hence, in order to ward off rising unemployment, there is a need to develop graduates/postgraduates with entrepreneurship and self-employment generating skills who create their own work and provide work to others also. In agriculture and allied education, there is a need to revise course syllabus with great emphasis on practical skills to address stakeholders concerns and needs.
Materials and Methods
Exploratory research design was employed for the present study. Telangana state was purposively selected as it had all desired streams and disciplines of graduates in agricultural higher education i.e., agriculture, horticulture, veterinary and dairy technology. In Telangana, agriculture education is under Professor Jaya Shankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Horticulture education is under Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University (SKLTSHU) and Veterinary and Dairy Technology education is under P. V. Narasimha Rao Telangana State Veterinary University (PVNRTSVU). From each major stream, one well-established college under these three universities was selected purposefully. 30 final year bachelor’s degree students from each selected college in each stream i.e. B.Sc., (Agri.), B.Sc., (Horti.), B. V. Sc & A.H and B. Tech. (Dairy) were selected randomly from the list, making total sample size of 120 respondents and data collected using pre tested interview schedule through personal interview method.
Results and Discussion
Table1 reveals that most preferred career by the agriculture undergraduates was government service in their major field with mean score of 3.03 followed by government service in non-major field (rank II), research (rank III), academic (rank IV), service in private company (rank V), own business in non-major field (rank VI), own business in major field (rank VII), and agriculture farming (rank VIII). These results are supported by findings of Lakshmi et al. (2013), Sharma (2012) and Singh et al. (2014).
|S. No.||B.Sc.(Agri) n=30||B.Sc.(Horti.) n=30||B.V.Sc & A.H n=30||B.tech (Dairy) n=30|
|1||Service in Government organization(in major field)||91||3.033||I||83||2.767||II||80||2.667||I||81||2.7||II|
|2||Service in Government Organization (in non- major field)||85||2.833||II||91||3.033||I||78||2.6||II||78||2.6||III|
|3||Service in private company||67||2.233||V||76||2.533||III||54||1.8||VI||88||2.933||I|
|4||Own business (in major field)||56||1.867||VII||68||2.267||VI||60||2||V||77||2.567||IV|
|5||Own business (in non- major field)||66||2.2||VI||53||1.767||VII||46||1.533||VII||60||2||VII|
TWS-Total weighted score TWMS- Total weighted mean score
In case of undergraduates of horticulture discipline, the most preferred career was government employment in non-major field, followed by employment in government organization in their major field and service in private company got second and third preference respectively followed by research and academic profession at rank IV and V respectively. Own business in major field, own business in non-major field and agriculture farming were least preferred career. The undergraduates preferred to join non horticultural government jobs because of fewer opportunities in the field of horticulture in government sector.The veterinary undergraduates’ foremost preferred career was employment in government organization in their major field (rank 1) followed by service in government organization other than major field at rank II and academician at rank III. The profession of researcher, own business in major field, own business in non- major field and service in private company were moderately preferred. While own business other fields and agriculture farming got less preference. These results are supported by findings of Bharadwaja and Sharma (2017). Most desire career preference of undergraduates was to join in government services in State Animal Husbandry Department undergraduates perceived brighter job opportunities due to regular recruitment in State Animal Husbandry Department due to lack of experience and practical exposure, even though there are huge entrepreneurial and self-employment opportunities students preferred career aspiration was government job only.
Majority of the students have technical and scientific orientation but not the business orientation. Majority of the courses in veterinary science are production/technical oriented with little emphasis on value addition or towards requirements in the market environment. Furthermore, there is a little or no exposure to the functional disciplines of management. Therefore, present veterinary undergraduate education, which was designed to meet the needs of SAHDs, has to be restructured incorporating Management, Entrepreneurship and Service (MES) orientation (Sasidhar and Van Den Ban, 2006). In developed countries, 50-75% of veterinarians are employed in private practice and the rest in government service, teaching, research and industry contrarily in developing countries, only 10-20% of them are engaged in private practice and rest in government service (Shanmugasundaram, 1997). Formulating and adopting suitable strategies, in future, more veterinarians will opt for private practice, consultancy service and start animal oriented businesses or industries, rather than hunting for a paid job. A secure job in the organized animal husbandry sector may not encourage entrepreneurship among graduates. Dairy technology discipline undergraduates mostly preferred to work in private companies, followed by employment in government organization in related major field (rank II), employment in government organization in non- related field, (rank III), own business in their major field (rank IV), research (rank V), academic (rank VI), own business in non- major field (rank VII), and agriculture farming (rank VIII). This stream undergraduate’s first career preference was different from other stream undergraduates’ career preference i.e. service in govt. sector it might be due to the reason that dairy farming is become industrialized by the organized, commercial and large scale private players who pay attractive salary to graduates from dairy technology.
The findings of the study clearly envisage that employment in government organization in major and non-major fields was the most preferred career option by graduates of all disciplines. This might be due to majority of undergraduates hailed from rural area had dream to serve in government organization. Contrarily dairy technology undergraduates’ preferred service in private organization. This may be due to their career orientation during their under graduation, lack of employment opportunities in government organizations and scope of working in dairy industry with a good amount of salary package. On the other hand, next to their most preferred career option, all disciplines undergraduates preferred to be a researcher and academician because of self-esteem and respectable profession with remuneration. Recently ICAR initiated Student READY (Rural Entrepreneurship Awareness Development Yojana) programme aiming to provide rural entrepreneurship awareness, practical experience in real-life situation in rural agriculture and certain awareness to undergraduate students about practical agriculture and allied sciences. The programme will help in building confidence, skill and acquire Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) of the locality and thereby, preparing the pass-out for self-employment. It also aims to provide opportunities to acquire hands-on-experience and entrepreneurial skills. To reorient graduates of agriculture and allied subjects for ensuring and assuring employability and develop entrepreneurs for emerging knowledge intensive agriculture, it is necessary to introduce this program in all the SAU’s as an essential prerequisite for the award of degree to ensure hands on experience and practical training. The Fifth Deans Committee has given detailed curriculum of student READY programme for all the disciplines in agriculture and allied sciences. The course curricula have been restructured to develop much needed skills and entrepreneurial mind-set among the graduates to take up self-employment, contribute to enhanced rural livelihood and food security, sustainability of agriculture and be propeller for agricultural transformation (ICAR, 2016).
The results revealed that only few undergraduates had a preference to start own business as occupation due to the risk, uncertainty and insecurity involved in self-employment. Thus, the focus on rural development through entrepreneurship may not be consistent with students’ desire. Therefore, it is suggested to impart location specific and need based entrepreneurial training and develop achievement motivation among undergraduate’s students. There is a need to improve the status and image of entrepreneurship. The policy makers should formulate suitable strategies to persuade the undergraduate students for starting their own business or generating self-employment opportunities by training, social and health insurance, credit and other required assistance. Further courses on entrepreneurship in university may encourage graduates to become self-employed, which may influence the career preferences and entrepreneurial convictions. Student READY, the recent, ICAR initiative programme may also be implemented effectively to improve entrepreneurship behavior of undergraduates.