S Tamizharasan, a final-year MBA student at a Trichy-based business school, was to appear for his campus placement in the second week of March 2020.
But the COVID-19 outbreak led to the cancellation of all placements, and he has been jobless for seven months now.
Tamizharasan is now hoping that his MBA school will accommodate him and 40 others of his batch in the 2020-21 placements.
Close to 65,000 students fail to find jobs
Owing to the COVID-19 situation, close to 65,000 engineering and management students have been unable to find jobs since either the placement processes were called off or companies withdrew job offers, citing financial constraints.
Now, these candidates are looking for a second opportunity during the upcoming placement season. The request is that a separate placement slot must be set aside for past-year students who could not find jobs or saw a revoking of job offers.
The final placement process across engineering and management institutes will begin by the second week of November and will continue till March. The job interviews continue till all students get placed.
Institutes have provisions, but there are riders, too
Though institutes have provisions to allow old students to come back and sit for placements within 2-3 years of passing out, it is only meant for students who opted out of placements to pursue entrepreneurial activities and failed to find a commercial model for these startups.
Abhinav Saraogi, who passed out of a Jaipur-based engineering college earlier in 2020, said that his job offer with a consulting firm was revoked.
“It is the responsibility of my institute to ensure that I get placed. If they cannot arrange for interview slots at the beginning of the placement season, we will lose out on opportunities in the 2020-21 session as well,” he added.
In the first phase of placements, usually, investment banking and consulting firms make job offers. This is followed by technology, manufacturing and consumer goods firms. E-commerce companies are also slowly being given slots in the first phase as they are now hiring in large numbers.
Every year, about 300,000 students graduate from management schools, while 1.5 million engineers pass out of colleges. Every year, close to 10,000-15,000 of these candidates are unable to find jobs. But 2020 aggravated the situation.
How will the process work?
Sources told Moneycontrol that it will be tough to allow all unplaced students to sit again for placements, and, hence, there will be a selection process.
“If the old students sit with the current batch for placements, it would hamper the process. We will look at setting up a different slot for the past students but this will be closer to January 2021,” said the head of placements at a Mumbai-based engineering institute.
The first preference to 2020-21 placements will be given to the current graduating batch. Old students will not be able to sit for the same job interviews.
The director of a Bengaluru-based management institute said that it would be unfair to let old students sit for placements alongside the graduating batch. He added that ‘separate arrangements’ will be made after discussions with the recruiters.
“We understand the concerns of the old students who could not find employment. By the second week of January, when the majority of the current batch is placed, the old students will be given an opportunity to apply to companies through campus placements,” he added.
But not all students who are without jobs would be eligible. Both engineering and MBA schools are drawing a list of eligibility criteria for sitting for the special placements. Special focus would be given to those students with excellent academic records and those from economically disadvantaged families.
Special enrolment process
A special enrolment process will be rolled out over the next few weeks after finalising the eligibility criteria.
The professor in charge of placements at a Kanpur-based engineering college said that students whose job offers were revoked in early 2020 have been first asked to contact these companies to seek an early interview slot.
“We will hand-hold the students. But the companies should also be ready to hire these students," he added.
For both engineering and management schools, while a majority of the graduating batch students have been placed under the first few phases of placement, several others were waiting for their chance in the third and fourth phases of placement, usually held in March and April.
While several students have now independently approached human resource consultants, these firms have also expressed an inability to help them find employment, citing COVID-19.