It’s a Real Slowdown at Campuses

The information technology industry is recruiting fewer management and engineering graduates in India. Many engineering graduates have chosen to look only for jobs in more secure sectors, listing their first choice for a company as one that is “stable.” The reason for the lower recruitment rates in IT is due to the volatility of the industry. Even as offers were made in the previous year, entrance dates were postponed and salaries were reduced. However, while the new economy players reduce recruitment numbers, old economy warhorses are back on campus. - YaleGlobal

It’s a Real Slowdown at Campuses

Raja Simhan T.E.
Thursday, January 17, 2002

THE slowdown in the IT industry is casting long shadows on engineering and management campuses this year. There are fewer IT companies on campuses than last year. The few who do come make less number of offers than they used to.

Anna University here was able to place only around 320 students with various companies, down from 1,200 around the same time last year, said Dr N. Baluswamy, Director, Centre for University-Industry Collaboration (CUIC), Anna University. The centre is responsible for placements and training and industry-institute interaction.

The fiscal year 2000-01 was a year of record placements for both Anna University and IIT-Madras (IIT-M). That year, 65 per cent of the 70 companies that visited Anna University were from the IT industry. Similarly, at IIT-M over 700 students got job offers on campus and 70 per cent of them were jobs related to the IT sector. However, only around 35 companies came for campus recruitment this year to the Anna University. Major absentees included Wipro and Satyam Computers - the former had recruited 49 students last year and the latter 23.

Other IT players have also reduced their campus intake this year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recruited 54 students compared to 177 last year, Infosys picked up 46 (126) and Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai, reduced its intake to 69 (105), Dr Baluswamy said.

According to him, thanks to the IT boom, the university saw a 50-per cent jump in campus placements last year, compared to the previous year, and around 100 per cent when compared to three years ago. This year, however, "I would be happy if the companies do not put on hold the offers they had made," he said.

Some of last year's graduates faced an indefinite postponement of offers and the CUIC had negotiated with companies, he added. "A few companies have delayed the date of joining for last year students by over a year," he said.

Salaries promised also suffered setbacks. Some IT companies, except big players such as TCS, Infosys and CTS, last year offered a compensation package on the campus, which was later sliced by 50-60 per cent, he said.

Sources at IIT-M said that out of the 719 students registered with the campus placement centre, over 400 students were recruited by 51 companies (30 were from the IT sector), while 10 companies were yet to come. In contrast, around 750 students were placed last year.

The IT sector this year continued to be major recruiters accounting for over 70 per cent, sources said.

The gloom has not spared management institutes either, according to Prof N. Jayasankaran, Director of Bharathidasan Institute of Management (BIM), Tiruchi,

"Typically, we used to place all students (around 50) within three days. This year, we had a placement week to ensure that as many students as possible were covered. About 80 per cent of our students have been placed (till December second week)."

Salaries offered have not differed vastly between last year and now in areas other than IT.

He said, "Companies from industries other than IT have been pretty consistent with the offers. Citibank gave the highest salary of Rs 6.5 lakh per annum."

THE volatility in the IT sector and shocking stories of lay-offs, delayed appointments and salary cuts from last year's campus recruits have prompted some IIT-M students (about 30 per cent of the total strength) to keep away from campus interviews this year.

Sources said that this year, most engineering students wanted to consider only engineering companies, rather than shift to IT. Further, some engineering students who registered for campus placements said that they would like to be recruited by companies offering stable jobs, unlike the IT sector, sources said.

Meanwhile, this year there will be many old economy companies at IIT-M, either coming back after a long gap or as first-time recruiters. Maruti Udyog is back after a gap of around four years and Gas Authority of India Ltd after 15 years.

NTPC was likely to come for the first time for campus recruitment, sources said

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