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COVID-19 | As IIT, IIM students lose job offers, institutes appeal to recruiters to keep promises

V Ramgopal Rao, Director of IIT Delhi in a LinkedIn post said companies should consider the fact that these students are bright enough to help them get out of a recession faster than they can imagine.

April 06, 2020 / 01:53 PM IST

Just about seven weeks ago, both the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), had completed campus interviews. The placement committees were happy that job offers were healthy despite a slowdown-like scenario.

But the picture has turned dramatically since.

From March 15 onward, the placement cell numbers across these institutes haven’t stopped ringing, be it concerned students calling to check on their offers or companies calling to ask for more time or deferring offers.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to a few job offers at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) getting revoked due to uncertainty among companies. With students unable to attend future placement sessions due to rules, these institutes are likely to make some tweaks.

“We have had one major consulting firm take a step back and say that they wouldn’t be able to honour the offers made. However, we are still engaging with them to see if at least five to seven students could be offered jobs post-October,” said the head of placements at an older IIT. Originally, 18 students had received offers.

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The situation is grim for students especially because the current placement rules at the IITs and IIMs disallow students from appearing for any campus interview once they have a job offer in hand. Even if the job offer is revoked at a later stage, the institutes do not allow students to come back for placements.

But now the institutes (IITs and IIMs) are looking at making some changes to allow select students (based on merit) to take a second chance at placements.

“The placement rules were designed with the idea that every student must get an equal opportunity to secure a job. However, with the uncertainty due to Coronavirus and talks of a slowdown, we are open to making changes in consultation with other IIMs,” said the head of placements at an IIM.

Placement heads of IITs and IIMs are likely to meet over the new few weeks to discuss the next course of action for students.

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V Ramgopal Rao, Director of IIT Delhi in a LinkedIn post requested the recruiters to be considerate and keep their promises. He added that a few months of delay could also be fine

Sources told Moneycontrol that a total of 40 offers at IITs and 35 offers at IIMs have been revoked so far. The companies here include US-based consulting firms and Indian startups. Two information technology majors who have hired several students from the IIMs would take a decision on the offers made by April 15.

Institute officials said the older IITs and IIMs would be better off than the new ones who will now find it challenging to find replacement companies.

Also Read: Live updates on the Coronavirus outbreak in India

An IIM student whose international job offer got revoked told Moneycontrol that he had all the documents ready and booked his tickets as he was supposed to join the company by June 1.

“The company has said that they are withdrawing the offer due to a slowdown in their US business. But will they compensate my losses related to visa fees and flight tickets that cost upwards of Rs 2 lakh?” he wondered.

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to a shutdown across campuses. This has delayed all the remaining rounds of placements at the engineering and management institutes. While almost 50,000 students across the smaller institutes are yet to be placed across the world, IIT and IIM candidates are also now being added to the list.

Human resource officials said the job market could be tougher for IIT, IIM pass-outs.

“There are several mid-size companies who have clearly stated that they would not be open to hiring from top institutes like IITs and IIMs due to the bad experiences in the past. Not only do students from these colleges demand a higher salary their retention rates are also very low. Considering that companies are looking to cut all excess costs now, IIT/IIM graduates wouldn’t be their top choice for entry-level talent,” said the head of staffing vertical at a recruitment firm.

For the time being, the placement cell officers at both IITs and IIMs are involved in convincing companies to defer the offers, but not revoke it.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
M Saraswathy
first published: Apr 6, 2020 01:48 pm

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