Hope vs hiring: The rift in IIT and non-IIT placements (PART 2)

The bandwagon and hype of IIT placements tend to have an adverse impact on placements in local engineering institutes. In our previous article (PART 1) we explored several factors that drive this hype and how they mould public perceptions. But to what extent do these factors manipulate the careers of non-IIT engineering graduates? Are engineering aspirants blind-sighted to an industry created bubble?

The business of hope:

Annual placement reports and tall salary claims have the power to manipulate public opinion. Many small institutes nowadays also use this tactic to attract student admissions. For e.g. coaching institutes in Kota put up huge banners about the number of students admitted into IITs every year. However, they will rarely mention the total strength of their classes or what percentage of students got an IIT seat. Such tactics are used to inculcate hope amongst aspiring engineers and their parents.

In the words of Deepak Agrawal, Associate Director, ISB (Indian School of Business), “It is an economy of hope. We know little about the input or the process but have high hopes about the output.”

Similarly, when an IIT student bags a salary package worth 2 crore rupees, it is a one off incident and cannot be generalised as the average salary package of all students. According to some IIT alumni, the average salary package in IITs may hover around 50-60 lakhs and there are usually only 2-3 exceptional students in a batch of 1000 whose package would cross a crore. Yet, such statistics and claims are made periodically to reinforce the brand of a coaching institute or engineering college.

Job varieties in other colleges:

Arpit Jain, a 2012 graduate from Baldevram Mirdha Institute of Technology (BMIT), Jaipur, says, “We had absolutely no campus placements in our college. We had to use job search engines and apply off-campus. Big MNCs like Microsoft, Google, Oracle, etc were a far reach for us.” While IITs usually receive a flux of MNCs and start-ups during every placement season, some small college students have to find their own avenues for getting jobs. Hardik Gada, an ex-student of K.J. Somaiya Institute of Technology says, “The higher grade posts are sometimes not even offered to local college students during placements.”

Problems of mass hiring and applying off-campus:

Students from local colleges who do not receive a desired job profile or salary package in placements may want to apply for jobs without the institute’s assistance. However, do they get a fair salary quotation off-campus?

On the other hand, recruiters from DirectI say that, “Once the salary bracket for a job profile has been set, it remains constant for all applicants – on-campus and off-campus.” This may give some respite to students whose colleges lack the ability to attract campus recruiters. However, while IITians, IIITians or NITians, would consider mass recruitment drives as their last resort, for some local college students, it is the only option for placement.

Student Perceptions:

According to Agrawal, “The IIT mindset is salary driven. 95% of IITians perceive a job in terms of the salary package and benefits. On the other hand, local college students are looking to accept whatever job they get and start their career.”

Students usually spend several lakh rupees for coaching classes, JEE registrations and college fees. Hence, their attitude may be driven by the desire to finally convert the past 6-7 years of their educational investment into revenue.

A couple of local college students in Mumbai that PaGaLGuY spoke to were of the opinion that it is important to get a job after graduation. They said that salary hikes and job gradation would happen depending on their performance in the company. Unlike IITians they believed in earning corporate experience before turning entrepreneurs.

Given the present scenario, this placement bubble is unlikely to burst in the near future. The rift in IIT and non-IIT placements will persist and industries will expand banking on blind hopes of engineering aspirants.

You can also read PART 1 of this article.