The overall slowdown in technology investments across the world could significantly impact the hiring programs instituted by top-tier academic institutions such as the IITs in India. Also, if these premier institutions are bracing to face some rough weather, it goes without saying that other engineering campuses might face a far tougher time as placement season kicks off.
Reports of Big Tech downsizing their IT services have been hitting us from all quarters, none more than the layoffs instituted by companies such as Facebook and Amazon among others. Several other global names that hire directly from the campuses have also spoken about how their overall hirings may be curtailed due to the global recessionary pressures.
All of this leaves IT recruiters in the lurch as big-ticket global offers are likely to dip even in the premier academic institutions. Reports suggest that even the IITs are facing this pressure, especially those that are not considered to be at the top echelons of the brand that these institutions represent as a whole to the industry. For example, offers that usually get made in say IIT Madras or IIT Delhi might end up at IIT Guwahati as a means of reducing cost of hire.
The storm after the calm
The irony is that the slump comes barely a year after IITs saw record number of placements as a result of the pandemic-inspired digital transformation initiatives. Global postings, salaries upward of Rs.1 crore were quite common for these premier institutions, but now it looks like they may be heading for a course correction.
Though final placements start about a week from now, placement officers that we reached out to appeared cautious and yet optimistic. One of them at a southern campus felt that no situation can be as bad as the Covid year, so any dip that occurs this time round would be bearable and not below the expectations of the campus or the students.
At best, the expectations at this juncture is that there would be fewer companies making offers to students than last year, but there is no reason to worry about students not getting their share of placement letters. “So, what we are talking about is lesser options and this is quite different from having no options,” says the official.
Large layoffs and larger hirings
The irony of it is that companies doing large scale layoffs are also making the maximum offers at the campuses. Information shared by some placement officials said their campuses received more pre-placement offers this year compared to the last. Of course, this could amount to zilch as these pre-placement offers are just expressions of interest.
For example, both Microsoft and Amazon have made a slew of pre-placement offers at some of the top institutions this year. What this means is that these companies are either trying to offset high-cost jobs with freshers and may give last-minute confirmations to offset an hiring freeze that may be in place. Which means the period of suspense just goes up for the students.
What about the smaller players?
However, what this means to other institutions is something that needs to be delved into. Some of the smaller, yet prestigious institutions in Karnataka and neighboring Tamil Nadu confirm that the global offers aren’t as much as they were last year. However, domestic companies are ready to hire and are already part of these placement processes.
In addition, some of these colleges are given an extra push to their incubation centers in order to push candidates with entrepreneurial mindsets into a different stream. Towards this end, they are even collaborating with companies to create local business initiatives that serve two purposes – creation of local wealth as well as building entrepreneurial skills in society.
Two colleges in Tamil Nadu have tied up with companies offering digital solutions to create local community networks as part of their incubation programs. However, they were reluctant to share details, given that the process is currently inconclusive. We did learn that these efforts were directed towards eCommerce with the government’s ONDC initiative at the core.