Months after he graduated from a city-based engineering college, Aniket Sathe (21) is still to land a job. An IT engineer by training, Sathe has also acquired a diploma in database management, but he still has not been able to crack any of the job interviews.
“There were hardly any placements in our college, and the few companies that came were offering very unattractive packages. Of the 120 people in our batch, only 10 were placed, and that too in domains not their own,” he says.
Sathe has now started preparing for competitive exams while simultaneously appearing for job interviews in various IT companies.
Sathe’s plight stems from a change in recruitment cycle of the IT companies, which by far has been the biggest employers in the city. Instead of mass hiring in anticipation of work, companies embittered by their past experience are now hiring as and when required. This scheme of hiring has affected freshers the most as they were the ones who were earlier employed by the companies to populate their “bench”. Estimates show that companies have slashed their fresher hiring by around 10-15 per cent.
Jivan Pant, director and principal consultant with Career Shapers HR consulting, says this trend is a result of the IT industry moving away from linear growth. “The Indian IT industry is moving away from ‘linear model’ of growth and hence addition in revenues to a company need not necessarily add employees. Freshers are majorly hit by this. While the industry has been predicted to grow by 12-15 per cent, this might not translate in an equal increase in manpower,” Pant says.
According to him, the above trend is likely to continue with companies only hiring when a deal is close to signing.
Another change in the industry is a shift in the nature of work. Vasant Shetty, vice-president and head of Inda Operations of Saama Technologies, a data analytical company, says instead of long-term projects, short-term projects are in vogue now. “The trend is now towards a short crack team of professionals rather than a big team. In days to come, we would be requiring more and more people with analytical mind who can use Apps based on a data lake,” Shetty says.
Nitinchandra Shinde, senior general manager (HR) with Persistent Systems, says the talent gap amongst fresh graduates is evident in both soft and technical skills. The company has, however, seen a gradual increase in fresher intake from 450 last year to 650 this year. “Having an understanding of basic computer science concepts is highly important to our business. We, therefore, introduced an innovative concept of ‘My Passion Challenge’ three years back. Through this, we have been challenging freshers to brush up concepts they learnt during their college days, appear for an online contest and compete for early joining dates. Once they come aboard, we put them through 6-8 weeks of advanced training which includes soft skill modules,” Shinde says.
If economy has been one of the apparent reasons for the slowdown, a serious talent gap amongst the city graduates is also one of the reasons for fewer city candidates passing the screening tests of the companies which have also tightened their skill norms. For example, of the 1,500 people who appeared for the screening for a newly established data analytics company in the city, only 30 managed to crack the test.
The Aspiring Mind’s National Employability Report for Engineering Graduates, Pant says, had stated that only 18.43 per cent of graduates are employable for software jobs. Other than soft skills, a majority of the candidates had fared badly in basics of programming language and skills.
Sriram Rajagopal, vice-president of human resources with Cognizant, says the problem of “non-employability or under-employability” is especially true in case of neo and non-academic managed colleges which have sprung up in the last decade or so. “These colleges have difficulty in attracting top-notch faculty, retaining them and enhancing their skills. It is the increasing number of students coming out of the neo and non-academic managed colleges that contribute to non-employability or under-employability,” he says.