Inside IIT Placements 2020: Of new employers, newer job roles, seniors with rescinded offer letters and big bucks

The Education Minister had said that the students to whom the jobs were offered during the placement drive are among the country's brightest minds and asked directors to hold placement drives
Image for representational purpose (Pic: EdexLive/Reuters)
Image for representational purpose (Pic: EdexLive/Reuters)

IITians have always made India proud. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic still rages on, the students of the top technology institutes bagged a few of the most well-paid jobs in the market — the news has been rife with pre-placement, domestic, international, record-breaking offers that all the IITs have been wearing like a medal of honour. This is a great success, considering the fact that in 2020 a huge chunk of jobs were rescinded owing to this very pandemic.

The fear that even IITians may end up with slim pickings owing to COVID really took shape when firms like US-based Gartner withdrew job offers from IITs and IIMs — while other firms instead offered summer internships. In response, Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, in charge of the then Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education), had said that he had asked the directors of IITs to conduct an additional phase of placements for the students who had lost their job offers. He had also appealed to recruiters to not retract job offers. "I have also asked all IIT directors to hold special placement drives for the students affected by cancelled job offers. The students to whom the jobs were offered during the placement drive are among the country's brightest minds and can help recruiters in times of crisis," he had said in April.

What happened to the placements that were promised?
But there hasn't been any such additional drive to help students get placed. "We always have a few students who do not get a suitable job during the campus placement and we keep looking for opportunities for them. Some companies come back around August and in addition to that recruiters are in touch with us and we forward any opportunity that would suit the student all year round," said a senior official of IIT Madras' Placement Cell. "But there hasn't been any additional official placement session as such," they added.

That there has been no special placement session at the institutes was confirmed by another official who takes care of the UG placements at the same institute. "This year we are letting last year's graduates attend the placement sessions but only in the category they had cleared," said another placement official at IIT-M. This means these students had to wait an entire year to get placed. "Job offers are rescinded every year, but in 2020 the number of offers rescinded doubled. But the number of jobs rescinded did not cross double digits," said the official.

Who's affected the most?
Some departments had been affected more than the others, said a source at IIT-Delhi. "Core departments like Mechanical and Chemistry were affected more due to the pandemic. But the students have, either of their own volition or with the help of the officials, got summer internships, projects or jobs," they added. Certain classically lucrative branches like Computer Science, IT and Electronics, maintained the job offers.

It is the basic science UG and PG graduates as well as engineering graduates of Mechanical, Chemical, Civil and Metallurgy who have been affected, said Nikhil Gupta, a researcher at CBMR, SGPGI Campus, Lucknow. "Institutes have been suspending or downscaling the internship and UG and PG external project opportunities for their students. We would request the government and all the authorities of universities across India to allow and encourage their students to go for internships at reputed organisations, as it would help their careers and also allow them to secure employment opportunities on their own. The AICTE has taken very encouraging steps in this regard with promotion of internship opportunities for students of professional courses such as engineering to include internship components as part of the course structure, we feel that extending these steps to other courses can be highly beneficial to both potential recruiters as well as students," added the national representative and coordinator of Research Scholars of India.

Job profiles changed
But the placement season has been very hopeful this year with domestic offers going as high as Rs 80 lakh and overseas Rs 1.63 crore across the IITs. "But there has been a change in the profile of some of the companies that have come in. We have a lot of new companies," said a source at IIT Roorkee. "There is a change in the type of jobs offered as well. The job profiles have changed but the remuneration is still good — in fact, it is even better this year. A lot of the credit goes to the placement cells," said officials at IIT-M.

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