With the placement season having started, the Central Placement Cell of Panjab University is making students go through multiple training sessions — mock interviews and tests, personality grooming sessions, and technical quizzes — to help them grab good job opportunities.
However, all is not well with the placement scene at the varsity. Increasing number of departments, lesser companies turning up for recruitment and staff crunch are the main problems. The maximum number of placements happen only in four departments: University Institute of Engineering Technology (UIET), University Business School (UBS), University Institute of Chemical Engineering (UICET) and University Institute of Applied Management Sciences (UIAMS).
Even though the Central Placement Cell regularly organises personality development classes and guest lectures for the students free of cost, these sessions do not witness a significant turnout. “There is an acute shortage of staff. Even though a lot of new departments are coming up, we do not have enough faculty members. There are placement cells in each department, but they are not functioning as per their mandate as the university is not offering any incentives to the teachers who volunteer to help with placements,” says Professor Amandeep Singh Marwaha from the Central Placement Cell.
According to Marwah, on average, out of every 1,000 students at the university who choose to take up placements, roughly 200-250 students end up getting good job opportunities. The university allows companies with a minimum pay scale of Rs 15,000 per month for undergraduates, and Rs 20,000 per month for postgraduates.
The front-runner in the placement race is the University Business School (UBS), where the average package in the first placement drive of this session has been Rs 8.22 lakh per annum. Out of the 124 students who appeared for placements in this session, 82 were offered jobs in the first leg of the drive, with the highest package of Rs 21 lakh per annum being offered by Trident to seven students from the department. Having changed its training and curriculum in the last few years, the business school has seen a 25 to 30 per cent hike in the pay packages being offered to its students.
At UICET, however, an average of 20 companies ranging from ITC, Reliance Industries, Universal Oil Product visit each year. In 2015, 91 students were recruited through campus placements, and this year 87 students have already been placed. “The absorption of candidates by companies is basically project-driven. This year, as a result of the falling oil prices, there has been a drop in recruitments at oil corporations,” says placement officer of UICET Dr S K Aggarwal.
PU’s annual job fest: Avsar
As students from other departments still await good job opportunities, an annual job fest, Avsar, is going to be organised by the Central Placement Cell in March. According to data, 37 companies participated in the recruitment drive in 2014, selecting 167 students out of the shortlisted 398. In 2013, 858 students participated in Avsar, and 167 out of the shortlisted 398 candidates were selected. In 2012, 471 students were shortlisted in the fest.
Students look for alternatives
Many students of the university have also started turning to job placement consultants in the Tricity and other online mediums to hunt for jobs. “Online platforms these days work as better portals to look for jobs. When the university fails to help us with jobs, the Internet is what comes to our rescue,” says Saini Dhillon, a student of PU.
Over the years, job consultancy firms have also come up in the Tricity that offer students to help them with their job hunt. These platforms offer temporary, contractual and permanent jobs to students. Jatinder Mann, owner of one such job portal, says, “Students come to us after they fail to get placed through the placement cells at their colleges. We help them in improving their resumes, and put them in touch with job opportunities.”