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Getting Rs 1 crore-plus paycheck is a distant dream for most IIT grads

Salaries vary significantly with departments. The crore-plus salaries were bagged only by students of computer science and engineering.

education Updated: Dec 03, 2017 07:53 IST
Samarth Bansal
A view of the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Delhi.
A view of the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Delhi.(HT File Photo/Arvind Yadav)

A student of Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IIT-D) was recruited by Microsoft with an annual pay package of Rs 1.4 crore this week, the first of several crore-plus job offers reported every year from the country’s most prestigious engineering college network.

But an analysis of all recruitment from key Indian Institute of Technology campuses suggests the crore club is hardly representative of the pay packages fresh graduates usually bag, which falls around Rs 8- Rs 12 lakh per annum, varying by specialisation and the campus.

There are 23 IITs in all but placements from only seven — Madras, Mumbai, Kharagpur, Delhi, Kanpur, Roorkee and Guwahati — are being taken for comparison since the rest were set up after 2008 and are yet to reach the same degree of eminence.

In 2015-16, the median salary across the seven oldest IITs ranged from Rs 8.8 lakh per annum to Rs 14.7 lakh per annum, according to data submitted by the institutes to the Union human resources department as part of the latest National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2017

To put this in context, the highest reported salary — which includes cash as well as stock options — offered to a handful of students is almost 14 times more than what an average IIT student earns after graduation.

NIRF rankings were first held in 2016 and institutes at the time asked to provide the “average” salary package offered to students, not the median, as in 2017.

Average pay is calculated by dividing the sum of the salaries offered to all students by the number of students. The median, which experts say is a better indicator, is the statistical middle if all students were ranked in an increasing order. This represents a number close to which most students’ salaries would be.

Experts believe that in an average, outliers — such as the handful few in the crore club — could skew the numbers to a higher side.

Nevertheless, the data of average pay packages shows that in 2012-13, the average salary across the seven campuses ranged from Rs 7.3 lakh to 11.4 lakh; in 2013-14, from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 11.3 lakh; and in 2014-15, from Rs 8.5 lakh to Rs 12 lakh.

Salaries vary significantly with departments. The 2016-17 placement statistics from IIT Madras, for instance, shows the computer science and engineering (CSE) branch had the highest median salary at Rs 18.28 lakh per annum. The median salaries in civil, chemical and metallurgical branches fell in the range of Rs 8 to 10 lakh per annum.

The crore-plus salaries were bagged only by students of CSE.

Analysis of IIT Bombay’s 2015-16 placement data done by Insight, the student media body of IIT Bombay, showed similar trends. “Placements seem to allocate graduates away from engineering (jobs) and also away from companies which serve Indian markets,” Milind Sohoni and Vinish Kathuria, both professors at IIT Bombay, said in a working paper.

The duo used placement statistics for the graduating batch of 2013 at IIT Bombay and found that for all programs, on an average, engineering and technology is the lowest paying sector.

Only about a quarter of the undergraduate students and about half of the postgraduate students took engineering jobs, which accounted for about 33% of the total number of students placed.

Around 45% of the BTech students took up jobs in finance and consulting, 24% in IT and 8% in FMCG and non-IT.

“The high paying sectors are Finance and Consulting, and to some extent, IT, and these require fairly generic skills which are largely unrelated to the technical training that these students have undergone,” Sohoni and Kathuria wrote in the paper.