After a turbulent economic situation, campuses are now getting ready for the placement season. However, it may not be what it was two years ago.

The official placement season has begun in most engineering colleges. Quite significant it is after the economic crisis that saw companies postponing or cancelling offer letters they had made to students. While HR service firms say it will not be anywhere close to how it was two years ago where the bulk of recruitment took place at campuses, one thing is sure. The job market is opening up and there is lots in store.

Honing skills

Companies have started visiting campuses and placement cells are working with new energy, honing the skills of final semester students in particular. There is more emphasis on aptitude at the mock sessions happening at Velammal Engineering College, while soft skills, stress on knowledge and managerial skills is key in some other colleges. Colleges too seem to have learnt many lessons during adversity.

As Baby Thomas, placement officer, Hindustan University, says, “We are welcoming companies irrespective of its size, and software firms are visiting us later.”

Other sectors

Besides Information Technology, there is manufacturing, retail, hospitality, infrastructure which are promising to bounce back this season.

According to K. Pandia Rajan, Managing Director Ma Foi and Ranstad India, Information Technology (IT) will account for around 20,000 jobs across India, and freshers will see a significant intake.

The infrastructure sector also promises to make a notable contribution. “Over the last 10 years, the onus of being a major employer has shifted from manufacturing to IT to infrastructure. This year infrastructure will emerge as the sunrise sector for engineering graduates with many civil constructions being launched,” said Mangesh G. Korgaonker, Director General, National Institute of Construction Management and Research (NICMAR). He agrees that though construction and infrastructure sectors were not as organised as manufacturing, the welcome sign is corporatisation.

“This industry is seeing a growth of 10 to 15 per cent and over three million engineers are needed this time,” he adds.

Talent crunch?

While other sectors also paint a rosy picture, the debate on industries facing a talent crunch and the gap between academia and industry surfaces again. The low selection ratio in a few institutions is indication that recruiters are unhappy with the talent coming out.

Grooming schools and institutions were established by the industries themselves in order to mould the right talent that they need and thereby bridge the gap that exists. L&T, for instance, has ventured to L&T Institute of Project Management last year to train its workforce. The institute is based at Vadodara, Gujarat. Similarly, Future Group started Future Learning and Development in 2008 to provide “training, training delivery and strategic planning solutions”.

Structured changes

Does this help where institutions and universities fall short? “We know the industry better. It's a win-win situation for student and industry,” says Kripesh Hariharan, COO, Future Learning and Development. He says the retail sector is also looking bright and the Future Group is looking at making 15,000 appointments in the next one year at the front end position.

Analysts say that there is lot more of career skill training happening at campuses now than some years back but the mushrooming number of campuses need to be reviewed.

“Many art and science colleges have introduced soft skills into their curriculum, the same has to happen with engineering colleges too,” says Mr. Pandia Rajan.

“Curriculum needs to be current, there must be higher emphasis on skill-based training and project works need better weightage.” Without such structured changes, the aspirations of employers will remain unfulfilled.