Major IT companies, which have commenced recruitment of graduating students across the state, have pulled in fewer students than they did last year. While the employers' cut-offs have gone up, some claim this could be mitigated by more employers in the fray.

CHENNAI: A week after IT firms started visiting engineering campuses to recruit students, experts, across industry and colleges predict the placement scenario this year might be not as encouraging as the past couple of years.

Last week, TCS, one of the highest recruiters in the State visited two campuses – Thiagarajar Engineering College and Sastra University. This time, they recruited 862 students from Sastra, compared to 1,755 last year, and 300 from Thiagarajar as opposed to 702 last year. At, VIT University last week, Accenture recruited 1,492 students and Wipro, 1308 students. Cognizant which took in 1,820 students last year from the campus, has recruited 803 students this time.

“The numbers have gone down by at least 50 per cent,” says a placement officer of a college. Placement officers in many colleges are already worried. “We are bracing for the worst here. Companies including Accenture visit limited campuses and hire in large numbers, but TCS and Cognizant recruit more students from more campuses, so we look forward to having them on our first days,” says a principal of a private college.

However, companies such as TCS, Cognizant, HCL and Wipro have said that their recruitment process is on track. TCS officials plan to recruit students across city colleges after September 11 with sessions planned at SRM University, RMK Engineering College, Velammal Engineering College, Rajalakshmi Engineering College, and then a few more. Many colleges say there has not been any kind of assurance from the companies on the numbers this year. “It all depends on the performance of the students every year but normally we have an idea of the numbers. This time it is dicey. It they have recruited 600 from the most reputed colleges, they will rope in 300 here. This means we will have to look for opportunities for the other 300,” says another placement officer.

The first day of placements in colleges is always the most sought after by companies, but this year, say many placement officials, the slots have not been finalised till now because the companies are not very sure of their visits. “You cannot blame the companies here because recruitment is based on projected results. We need to look for other avenues now – motivating students to take up GATE and other competitive exams, government sector jobs and build association with other companies,” says Sivagnana Prabhu of RMK Engineering College .

The attrition rate of companies has gone down this year and the joining rate is almost 90 per cent, with most students with offers accepting them. This might also influence the 2013 recruitment, says an HR official with an IT major. The second-tier colleges are the most worried because many of them have not received any correspondence from the recruiters. “One or two might visit us to keep up the association we have with them but they will recruit just about a 100 which might not be very helpful,” says the principal of a private college.

Students and teachers note that companies’ testing patterns have changed. TCS has introduced ‘Su-du-ko’ and other puzzles in its aptitude test. Even the cut-off for qualifying in the Accenture test is rather high,” said a student who took the test.

Senior professors note that this year, students will have to put in more efforts to get placed, because the expectations of companies will be more. “Those in good colleges which attract many companies might not have to worry but the campuses that depend on a single company might need to change their strategies,” says R. Mahendran an associate professor in a private college.

NASSCOM officials have however predicted that the overall recruitment of IT companies might not be very different from last year. “It is a good sign this year that many other companies have joined the process,” said a NASSCOM official. In 2011-12, the 30,000 recruits from Tamil Nadu was the highest in the country. EOM

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Vasudha VenugopalJune 28, 2012

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