Campus placements cool at B-schools, engineering colleges, worse yet to come

Protectionism in US and UK , which affect Indian IT companies, and demonetisation seen behind slowdown in campus placements


HR outsourcing and technology firm PeopleStrong says campus hiring numbers may fall 20-25% from current levels by the end of 2020. Photo: Mint
HR outsourcing and technology firm PeopleStrong says campus hiring numbers may fall 20-25% from current levels by the end of 2020. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: Campus hiring have cooled at India’s top business and engineering schools, including at some IITs and IIMs, and some are yet to conclude the final campus placements which were to be completed by mid-January, said officials at several placement cells.

Demonetisation, which sapped demand and hit consumer-facing firms, and rising protectionism in the US and UK, which threaten Indian IT companies, are likely reasons for the development, these officials said.

It also threatens to get worse. Human resources (HR) outsourcing and technology firm PeopleStrong says campus hiring numbers may fall 20-25% from current levels by the end of 2020.

Also read: Engineering colleges may reduce seats, look beyond IT for campus placements

“Campus hiring will see a gradual decrease in the next one year,” said Pankaj Bansal, co-founder and CEO, PeopleStrong. “There are various reasons for this gradual decrease. Some of them include: reduction in hiring numbers of IT giants due to global economy slowdown, automation of transaction-heavy jobs through Artificial Intelligence and lack of job-readiness in the campus pass-outs.”

“Though the number of companies visiting campuses has gone up, the net total number of offers has remained constant,” said Kaustubha Mohanty, convener, All IITs Placement Committee, the panel responsible for campus hiring across all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). “Total offers being rolled out by a company has seen a drop. The exact numbers will be available only after the end of ongoing placements,” he said.

Abhishek Totawar, chairperson, placement and external relations, at Indian Institute of Management Tiruchirappalli, said, “Placements did slow down this year, compared to previous years. The number of offers being made by consistent top recruiters has gone down. We will know if the average package has been impacted once placements are over.”

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The India Hiring Intent survey conducted by PeopleStrong in November showed that 40% of employers preferred hiring candidates with at least a year’s experience, said Bansal. “Employers are looking for some refinement in talent before they employ them,” he added.

Though packaged consumer goods companies held back on campus hiring after the government withdrew high-value notes, some had already made pre-placement offers (PPOs) by then.

At Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, IT giants Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), which hired graduates for consulting roles the previous year, stayed away from the campus, said Kanwal Kapil, professor in charge of placements.

“Since FMCG and banking firms hired through the PPO route, we were spared from the woes of demonetisation,” he added. FMCG is short for fast-moving consumer goods, marketing jargon for packaged consumer goods that include soaps, shampoos and toothpastes.

The hiring slowdown also points to the need for institutes to make their training programmes relevant for the industry, as low-skill jobs will be increasingly automated and phased out.

“However, as reforms from the government are kicking in, we may see new-age companies growing and generating employment,” said PeopleStrong’s Bansal.

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