Nov 28, 2008

India - Engineering students salary melts to 5k

Priyanka Golikeri

MUMBAI: Engineering students are waking up to a rude reality. Till recently they would be spoilt for choice at campus recruitment fairs. But the slump in the manufacturing and IT sectors has ruined the party for them. Fresh graduates are finding that companies that had recruited them for fancy salaries are unable to keep their promises. Scrambling for a job, they are settling for work not of their choice and for pay as low as Rs5,000 a month.

It is a huge comedown from a situation just months ago when engineers could look at starting their careers with Rs25,000 a month. Now, the mantra is to gain experience and wait for the good times to roll again.

Priyesh Shah, who passed out from an engineering college in Mumbai this year, is doing just that. Last July, when Shah was in the penultimate year of the course, a leading IT company selected him for recruitment. After his graduation, however, the Hyderabad-based company kept postponing the joining date, which was initially supposed to be June 23.

Frustrated, he approached several other companies, ultimately finding work with HCL Infosystems. But the salary of Rs7,000 a month was a far cry from the earlier offer of Rs25,000.

Shah feels dejected at the sudden turn of events, not the least because he would not be able to recover the cost of his education (Rs2,00,000 for a four-year course) anytime soon. “My choices are limited. Either I keep waiting or I start gaining experience, though for a fraction of what I should have been earning,” he says.

His classmate Mayank Vasani has had to settle for Rs5,000 against Rs21,000 offered to him last June by an IT firm that is listed on Nasdaq.

Bangalore resident N Nagendra last year got an offer in excess of Rs29,000 by an IT major. But after repeatedly putting off his joining date, he started looking for a job elsewhere, finally finding one with a BPO in the field of data analytics. His salary:
Rs7,500. “It’s better than being jobless,” says Nagendra. “I’m lucky. Many of my classmates are yet to find employment.”

T Sreedhar, managing director of a Hyderabad-based talent management company, says: “People are desperate for jobs. The engineering graduates have no choice but to take whatever they get. At least they can accumulate work experience.”

But the IT companies say the offers made would be honoured. “The hiring will be staggered,” says Ravi Shankar, senior vice-president and head of the talent acquisition group at HCL Technologies. “Bringing on board more people would not work at this point of time.”

The engineers are hoping the point shifts soon.