Campus hirings have cooled at India’s top business and engineering schools and some are yet to conclude the final placements which were to be completed by mid-January, officials at several placement cells said.

Campus placements

Demonetization that sapped demand and hit consumer-facing companies, and rising protectionism in the US and UK which threaten India’s technology companies are likely reasons for the development, these officials said.

It also threatens to get worse. Human resources (HR) outsourcing and technology firm PeopleStrong says campus hiring numbers may fall 20-25% from current levels by the end of 2020.

“Campus hiring will see a gradual decrease in the next one year,” said Pankaj Bansal, co-founder and CEO, PeopleStrong. “There are various reasons for this gradual decrease: some of them include: reduction in hiring numbers of IT giants due to global economy slowdown, automation of transaction-heavy jobs through Artificial Intelligence and lack of job-readiness in the campus pass-outs.”

“Though the number of companies visiting campuses has gone up, the net total number of offers has remained constant,” said Kaustubha Mohanty, convener, All IITs Placement Committee, the panel responsible for campus hiring across all Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). “Total offers being rolled out by a company has seen a drop. The exact numbers will be available only after the end of ongoing placements,” he said.

Abhishek Totawar, chairperson, placement and external relations, at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Tiruchirappalli said, “Placements did slow down this year, compared to previous years. The number of offers being made by consistent top recruiters has gone down. We will know if the average package has been impacted once placements are over.”

The India Hiring Intent survey conducted by PeopleStrong in November 2016 revealed that 40% of the employers showed preference towards hiring candidates with one-year experience.

Though packaged consumer goods companies held back on campus hiring after the government withdrew high-value notes, some had already made pre-placement offers (PPO) by then.

At Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon, information technology (IT) giants Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd that hired graduates for consulting roles previous year stayed away from the campus, said Kanwal Kapil, professor in charge of placements at MDI Gurgaon..

“Since FMCG and banking firms hired through the PPO route, we were spared from the woes of demonetisation,” said Kapil added. FMCG is short for fast-moving consumer goods, marketing jargon for packaged consumer goods that include soaps, shampoos and toothpastes.

The hiring slowdown also points to the need for institutes to make their training programmes relevant for the industry, as low-skill jobs will be increasingly automated and phased out.

“However, as reforms from the government are kicking in, we may see new-age companies growing and generating employment,” PeopleStrong’s Bansal said.