Students at IIT Delhi campus in New Delhi.(HT Photo)
Students at IIT Delhi campus in New Delhi.(HT Photo)

Job offers shrink for IIT graduates, campus hiring falls to 66% this academic year. Here’s why

The slide in recruitment from what are considered premier technical institutes reflects the possible impact of the economic downturn in India as also globally
By Neelam Pandey | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2017 03:41 PM IST

One of every three IITians graduating this year either didn’t find a suitable job or wasn’t found suitable for a job through campus placement, official data show, pointing to shrinking employment opportunities for India’s large pool of engineering talent.

Only 66% of those who made themselves available for campus recruitment landed a job offer in 2016-17, as against 79% in 2015-16 and 78% in 2014-15, according to data made available by IITs to the human resource development (HRD) ministry. Out of 9,104 student in 17 IITs who applied this year, only 6,013 got jobs.

The data for placement was shared by 17 IITs. There are 75,000 students studying in 23 IITs in the country.

When contacted, the human resource development ministry said that recruitment by PSUs through GATE scores has increased over these years and many of those recruited are from IITs. “These numbers won’t reflect in the campus recruitment numbers. We need to add these too before coming to conclusions on employment opportunities for IIT students. We, therefore, feel that the employment scene is not really going down for IITs.”

The slide in recruitment from what are considered premier technical institutes reflects the possible impact of the economic downturn in India as also globally. India’s estimated economic growth has slowed to 7.1% in 2016-17 from 7.9% in the previous year.

Larsen & Toubro Ltd, for instance, laid off 14,000 employees during April-September last year, saying it was necessary to stay agile and competitive.

Many companies in the manufacturing and construction sectors slashed jobs in November-January to protect their profit margins post-demonetisation.

A wave of protectionist steps by countries such as the United States has further hit the services sector, especially IT companies.

The top seven IT firms in India are reportedly planning to lay off at least 56,000 engineers.

“There is an increase in the number of IITs but the jobs have remained the same. Naturally jobs have been distributed amongst all the IITs,” Professor NP Padhy, dean of academic affairs, IIT Roorkee told HT. “At the same time, the new IITs were given an opportunity to start the placement drive much earlier than the rest to help them. Also, the number of start-ups that participated earlier has also come down. Many students also opt for higher studies,” he said.

IIT sources say that while the number of companies visiting IITs has increased in many cases, job offers have decreased. In IIT Madras, which topped the National Ranking of the country’s engineering institutes, of the 665 students who were available for campus placements, 521 got job offers, with an average salary of ~12.91 lakh per annum.

That is to say that only 78% of the students who wanted jobs got the offers, as against 86 % in the previous two years.

“Our placement drive was disrupted due to the cyclone this year and so there might have been a slight drop,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthy, IIT Madras director.

IIT Roorkee managed to place 653 of 974 campus job-seekers this year; that is 67% compared to 83% last year. Of the old IITs, only the one in Kanpur showed a slight improvement in campus placements this year.

In IIT Delhi, 502 of 563 students got job offers. Officials of the institute, however, said that the data might see a slight increase as the placements are still on. “There are a number of students who opt for higher studies or sit for civil services examination. Many start their own start-ups and so not everyone opts for campus placement. At the same time, jobs are not increasing and we are a mere facilitator between the companies and the students. As far as we know, anyone from IIT Delhi looking for a job will be able to get one,” said a senior official of IIT Delhi.

Some IITs such as the one in Mumbai remain optimistic, claiming that recruitment season was still on and the numbers might still go up by the end of June. However, most companies visit IIT campuses for hiring from December to February and any additions after that are usually marginal.

“The global slowdown is one of the major reasons. The number of offers companies have made has come down, though more companies have come for placements. Even e-commerce companies have reduced their offers. H1B visa issue has also impacted the placements,” said Professor Kaustubha Mohanty, convenor of All IITs Placement Committee.

“At the same time, there are more IITs vying for the same number of jobs so that has also affected job placements. We are confident that things will improve next year. A number of companies have started giving pre-placement offers in the third year itself when students go for internships in companies, which is a positive thing,” he said.

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