Indian Institutes of Technology students stare at uncertain times: Firms withdraw job offers, defer joining dates

ByPriyanka Sahoo and Shreya Bhandary, Mumbai
Sep 07, 2020 05:42 PM IST

With recruiters rescinding offers and delaying joining dates owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the graduating batch of students from various Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) is facing an unprecedented situation.

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Students of IIT-Madras are among the worst-affected, as almost eight companies withdrew as many as 28 job offers during the lockdown.

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“Several companies also ended up postponing the date of joining for many other students,” said Professor CS Shankar Ram, advisor (training & placement), IIT-Madras.

At IIT-Bombay, 22 students lost the job offers made to them during the placement drives.

“Some of these students have secured employment elsewhere and steps are being taken to reemploy them in other companies,” BV Ravi Shankar, training and placement officer, IIT-Bombay, said.

At IIT-Mandi and IIT-Roorkee, only one company each pulled back the job offers made. Only one student lost the job in IIT-Mandi but at IIT-Guwahati, three students’ job offers were revoked during the lockdown.

A senior official from IIT-Delhi confirmed that the number of job offers being revoked by companies this year were in two digit numbers. While some other IITs refused to divulge the exact details on the number of job offers revoked, they confirmed that their respective placement cells are working on ensuring that affected students are helped with other job offers in the second phase of placements.

Meanwhile, deferred joining dates by employers have also added to students’ woes.

“The pandemic has affected the joining date of several students. Usually, the graduating students from IIT-Mandi join companies in July. But this year, with a slight delay in the final semester completion, the joining date was postponed to August for most offers. A few companies also deferred the joining date to January 2021. We are in touch with the companies and are confident that our students will join them by January,” said Dr Sunny Zafar, advisor (career and placement cell), IIT-Mandi.

“Given that the pandemic has hit the country’s economy and that some companies have withdrawn offers, there is a lot of anxiety on whether my recruiter will make good on the promise,” said a student from IIT-Bombay, whose joining date has been deferred.

Vinayak Narayan Kulkarni, head (centre for career development), IIT-Guwahati, said that owing to the extended lockdown, several recruiters have requested students to start work in virtual mode for the time being.

While most IITs recorded a notable increase in offers received during the first phase of placement drives in December 2019, the second phase that kicked off in January has not been very successful.

At IIT-Bombay, 1,171 students were placed in the first phase — the highest in the past couple of years. In comparison, only 36 students were placed in the second phase.

“The second phase was impacted due to Covid-19. We have conducted more interviews online this year due to pandemic and fewer selections were possible,” said Shankar.

Keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation, almost all IITs are planning to conduct placement drives virtually this year.

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