After a lull in campus placements thanks to the recession phase the economy was facing, things are looking up both for job seekers and job givers in the current scenario. The industry is turning back to colleges for their human resource needs in the “spill-over” days of the recession. The re-entry is however not with a hop and a skip. Nevertheless, the colleges are happy.

Academic year 2008-09 ended on a sour note for educational institutions with a very negligible percentage of their final-year students getting placements. Though this was the general trend among all the disciplines, the worst affected were those who belonged to the Computer Science / Information Technology subjects. Even among those who got provisional offer letters, most were not given appointment letters or joining orders. Bharathiar University placed less than 300 students when compared to its 6,000 in 2007-08.

But February-March 2009-10 has turned out to be like the light at the end of the tunnel. Companies are responding to invitations from colleges to take part in the campus drives with “a genuine intention of recruiting”.

According to B. Anirudhan, Principal of Nehru Arts and Science College, the companies who visited the colleges last year were there because they had to just log in that visit. “This year, however, it was different”. The number of recruitments that has taken place in the last two months is a testimony to this.

The scenario last year was such that colleges had difficulty finding companies to place their own students. But, this year around, there were many colleges who conducted job fairs and job melas for recruiting students of other colleges too.

The recent big one was the five-day Offer Plus 2010 organised by the Nehru Group of Institutions. As many as 17,500 students from 167 colleges participated. Offer letters were given by 183 companies to 3,606 students.

Many arts and science colleges have already placed 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the students.

Selection process

Most of the placement officers are confident that this will go up with more campus recruitments in the offing. But, if one thought that this reflected only quantity and not quality, then it is not so. The selection process has been very different and “conservative”.

“Earlier, the trend was to select the above average students and train them. But, this year, the companies were keen on the creamy layer. The cut-off for shortlisting was higher than last year. Students with arrear papers were not considered. Many companies had revised their question papers to test not the knowledge, but the technical competency,” says M.S. Irfan Ahmed, Placement and Training Officer, VLB Janakiammal College of Engineering and Technology.

Banking, finance and insurance seem to top the list with the maximum number of recruits. Marketing, Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) and event management companies follow a close second. Information Technology companies are also recruiting, though not to the extent of their counterparts in other sectors. But, what is surprising to note from the statistics received from colleges is that, they preferred the non-IT students.

According to M. Jayakumar, Director, Department of Extension and Career Guidance, Bharathiar University, hardcore IT companies are still choosy about recruiting. The ones who are recruiting are looking for Mathematics and Commerce based graduates with fundamental computer knowledge like CC++.

“With white collar crimes increasing, many companies are developing fraud detection softwares. Municipal corporations and large scale public limited companies are in the computerisation mode. They may come forward to recruit the Computer Science graduates,” Mr. Jayakumar says.

The 2009-10 batch of students passing out from arts and science, and engineering colleges are much luckier than the 2008-09 lot. They find themselves at the tapering end of the recession graph. The “employable” ones have at least got something to start off with.

“Even the ones rejected by companies have more options than last year. If they do not have reservations about the kind of work they do, then the choices are many,” Mr. Jayakumar says.

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