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Friday, November 27, 2009

Are engineering students being fooled by IT firms?

Friday,27 November 2009

Bangalore: "Infosys, TCS or Wipro! Somehow I need to have a placement in any of these IT companies," voiced over 400 students, who took admission in a Chennai-based engineering college in 2005.

Among all those voices, was a frail, but a determined voice of Raman Sharma, a boy from Chhattisgarh, who studied day and night to get admission in this college. Dressed in white shirt, black pant and leather sandal on the first day of his fourth-year engineering course, Raman thought that he had crossed the first hurdle of making his dream true of becoming an IT engineer. But at the same time, he was unaware of the words like recession, lay-off, firing, cutting costs, virtual pool and bench strength, which he faced, once he passed out from his college in May 2009. Helping his father in the field, Raman is still waiting for his appointment letter from TCS.


Raman's case is not the only one. In the last one and a half year, most of the 2008-09 graduates have not been given joining letters after they were handed offer letters in the campus. Now, most companies are coming back to these graduates, asking them to join the BPO division instead of the technology division, which is a frustrating situation for the engineering graduates, who worked very hard for four years in college to get through an IT company. Saurabh, who did not prefer to mention his college name, said, "I studied IT for four years, but now when I go to any company for job, they say that there is a vacancy in the BPO sector, but not in the main stream."

Wipro had given offer letters to 8,000 graduates for jobs in the IT services segment, but when these graduates joined the company, they were asked to work in BPO division. Pradeep Bahirwani, Vice-President (Talent Acquisition), Wipro Technologies said, "This was part of its new initiative to let engineering graduates commence work without delay. Their experience at the BPO would be considered relevant and continuous when they move into the IT services after 12 to 18 months."

Similarly, Mahindra Satyam had 3,000 campus hires waiting to join the telecom solutions company till September. The company sent an email to the campus recruits, saying, "We are glad to share our plans with you for adding fresh engineering graduates to our Network Implementation Services operations in the near future. The candidates who accept this offer, the salary package offered will be Rs.1.7 lakh per annum, which is Rs.1.2 lakh less than what the campus recruits were supposed to get as per the company's initial commitment. In case the 'freshers' do not accept this offer, its earlier offer issued through campus selection stands good and very much valid, but will depend only as and when company has the requirement." Also Infosys, which had hired around 18,000 graduates last year, asked more than half of the recruits to work in its BPO section. But it did not reduce the salary.

Even though these companies have not offered joining letters to all the previous campus recruits and placed many of selected candidates in BPO division, they have started making rounds of engineering colleges for the campus recruitment once again. This year too, they plan to hire 'freshers' in large numbers.

According to recent NASSCOM report, Infosys has plans of hiring 20,000 graduates this year, even though 30,000 people at Infosys are 'benched'. Similarly, TCS has plans of hiring 25,000 people this year, even though 100s of students like Raman are waiting to get the joining letter. TCS officials denied of giving any information regarding the last year campus recruits, who are yet to get the joining letter.

As already we have a large number of students waiting to get their joining letter, these companies seem to be doing the same mistake again by planning to hire large chunk of students. Some IT professionals also believe that this step may be a sign of major lay off in middle level positions.
To get the answer of this question, we need to wait till the current session gets over in June 2010.

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