Campus gloom at IITs on hiring lull, stagnant salaries

Quadeye, Graviton Research Capital, and Da Vinci are some of the HFTs that are ready to offer crore-plus salaries. (HT)
Quadeye, Graviton Research Capital, and Da Vinci are some of the HFTs that are ready to offer crore-plus salaries. (HT)


  • HFT and quant firms are ready to roll out crore-plus offers but with very few vacancies

MUMBAI : The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are bracing for a sobering placement season. For the thousands of to-be engineers in the class of 2024, the number of hirings is likely to taper, even while salaries may not fall much.

“This year, we added more companies, but there is a 20% dip among the regular recruiters since many say they had over-hired last year. The compensation has not changed much, but the number of positions available per role has reduced," said a placement team member of one of the top three IITs on condition of anonymity.

According to placement team members in IITs Delhi, Kanpur, Bombay and Roorkee, high-frequency trading (HFT) and quant companies Quadeye, Graviton Research Capital, Maverick Derivatives and Da Vinci are ready to roll out crore-plus offers (including joining bonus and variable payouts). They say that pre-placement offers (PPOs), which are rolled out to selected students who have interned earlier, will see higher salaries, but the number of PPOs overall being offered by firms would be lower.

Last year, trading firm Jane Street broke records with a PPO of around 4.3 crore at IIT-Delhi, Kanpur and Bombay. But from the first set of confirmations this year, it appears the number of HFT firms, and their offers, will be lower than last year.

HFT and quant companies use maths and statistics to predict market movements. Such companies, which are mostly based in India, the US, Singapore, and Amsterdam, hire candidates who can analyze markets using mathematical and statistical models. HFTs have been garnering attention at a time when global markets are going through swift crests and troughs.

The demand for algorithm engineers, data scientists, associate product managers and data language experts are high among quant and trading firms, e-commerce and logistic companies, banks, IT product firms, and startups.

IITs in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Kanpur and Guwahati will start their campus placements on Friday (1 December), while the ones in Varanasi, Mandi and Bhilai had begun their placements in September.

Global companies are likely to put the squeeze on hiring as well. “We had offered 20 lakh, including 2 lakh joining bonus last year, but while we picked up 15 engineers last year from the IITs on the first day of campus placements, this year we will recruit barely five. The offers are in the same range and could be marginally lower," said the recruitment head of a leading consulting firm heading for the IITs on Friday.

Electronics giant Samsung, consulting and IT services leader Accenture, and engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) were among early recruiters in September, placement executives said. Salaries offered ranged from 6 lakh to 48 lakh. These companies are now likely to head for the IITs that are opening placements on Friday.

The battle will also be played out in the tech and product arena. Online food delivery platform Zomato is on the hunt for machine learning and data scientist roles for 40-45 lakh. “We are visiting a number of campuses this year to recruit the best tech talent in India. We will be offering globally competitive salaries for the best talent," said Zomato’s spokesperson.

According to the IITs’ placement teams, Google is offering 30-35 lakh for domestic roles, while Microsoft will pick up students for 40-45 lakh for roles based out of Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Mint sent out queries to Google, Microsoft, Accenture, Flipkart and the HFT and quant companies mentioned earlier, late evening on Thursday.

Companies prowl IIT campuses with multiple roles that come with different compensation structures. So, typically, algorithm engineers and data scientists may get paid higher than more regular operations profiles.

Placement season will continue for the next couple of months. Banks, startups, and public sector organisations are also queuing up.

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