Precarious job market prompts many to say no to higher education in foreign universities
After spending over Rs. 50,000 in applying to universities abroad and completing the admission formalities, R. Pankaja, a final-year engineering student, has decided to give up her dream of pursuing an M.S. in nanotechnology. And she has no qualms about it.
“I waited but no scholarships were offered to me. The situation might get worse. I decided to hold on to the job offer I have now,” she says.
Even as some students worry if this is the right time to join an IT company, given the slowdown in the industry, many of those who were considering higher education have made a turnabout and decided to say yes to the job offer at hand.
“It does not look like the right time to go abroad, particularly without work experience. I will work here for two years and then apply abroad. The experience will ensure I get a job even if I return,” says R. Kamakshi, a student of a private engineering college, who is awaiting an offer letter from HCL.
Placement officers at colleges attribute the increase in joining ratio to the gloomy economic scenario. Students do not want to take a risk by rejecting a job offer, says S. Ganapathy, dean, placements, SRM University.
In top-notch colleges, according to placement records, only 15 per cent of the students have rejected placement offers.
“Five years ago, every other student wanted to go abroad immediately after graduation, but the number has come down now,” says K.K. Sivagnana Prabhu, head, training and corporate affairs, RMK Group of Institutions. And this year, even the few students determined to go ahead with postgraduate studies have decided to give it a miss, and wait for the scenario to improve, says R. Ramakrishnan, placement director of a private college.
The trend also saves placement officials of colleges the embarrassment of dishonouring company offers. “It is very embarrassing for the college if a company recruits 800 students and only 500 join,” says Mr. Ramakrishan.
B.T. Maran, placement director of Meenakshi Group of Institutions, says the trend could also be a result of visa constraints and decreasing job opportunities in various counties, including the U.K. and Australia.
“Students are still keen on going to the U.S. for studies, but there is little financial assistance. Hence, students want to be safe than sorry,” he says.
According to industry estimates, joining ratio — number of job offers accepted by candidates against total offers made — at major IT companies rose by at least 12 per cent this quarter.
An official from TCS says it is too early to give a number, but the rise is significant. Companies such as Wipro and HCL too have witnessed a rise in joining ratio this year — for both engineering and B.Sc streams.
Another placement director of a reputed college says though hiring by bulk recruiters was good this year, many global players chose to stay away. “In many colleges, students were barred from sitting for more placement interviews once they received an offer. This too, could explain the higher joining ratios in some companies,” he said.
NASSCOM director K. Purushottaman says, though the industry respects the talent and resources of its vast fresher pool, it would also need students with qualifications in research.
“It is a good trend nonetheless that students prefer to work in the industry for a while before deciding what to pursue next.”