New Delhi: The job market seems to be looking up—after a fine summer placement season at top business schools, its the turn of elite engineering grads now.

All the older Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have seen a robust start to the two month-long final placement process with technology and core sector engineering emerging as preferred areas of hire.

At IIT Kharagpur, students bagged some 188 offers on the first day on Friday, as against 134 offers on Day 1 in 2016. By Monday, more than 400 jobs had been offered to its students. Even before the placement season began on 1 December, its students had bagged some 250 pre-placement offers based on their previous internships. These are in addition to the ongoing campus hiring numbers.

“This is one of the best starts and we hope to capitalize on it and end on a new high. We have so far crossed the landmark figure of 400 within just 2 days and hope to reach other milestones in the first phase of placements itself," said N. P. Padhy, a professor and placement in-charge at IIT Roorkee.

The response is strong at IIT Delhi, Madras, Bombay, Kanpur and Guwahati too, from both domestic and international companies.

Among sectors, core engineering and information technology were the lead recruiters across IITs. For example, IIT Madras said 32% of its day one offers were for core engineering and research and development roles, and 25% of offers were from IT firms.

At IIT Bombay, a sizable number of offers were from core engineering. As per day two data of the placement at the institute, more than 45% offers were for core engineering jobs. Intel with 25 job offers and Samsung Research Institute with 17 were the lead recruiters in core engineering at IIT Bombay.

“Placements have started on a very optimistic note this year. We hope that this trend continues for the rest of the placement season," said I. N. Kar, the placement in-charge at IIT Delhi where more than 400 students have got job offers so far.

IITs said lead recruiters in the initial few days included Microsoft, Samsung India, Oracle, taxi aggregator Uber, Mercari Japan Ltd, Vedanta Plc, Qualcomm, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and ONGC Ltd, Tata Steel, Bajaj Auto and financials like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, American Express, and consumer internet firms like Flipkart and Paytm.

Employment generation has been a constant debate in India both in politics and public discourse. Though placements at IITs and IIMs do not reflect the complete picture of the job market in India, it is certainly indicative of the environment and may give some amount of comfort to the union government that is battling poor jobs growth.

V.Suresh, chief sales officer at jobs portal Naukri.com, said that they see a good jobs environment over the next few months.

He said their survey has shown the job market is now “cautiously optimistic" and that job creation will see good growth in sectors like IT, banking and financials, and telecom over the next six months.

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