Swaroop Chatterjee, a 24-year-old who graduated in electronics engineering from a Kolkata-based institute this year, was determined to pursue further studies abroad.
However, now, he has decided to join a Bangalore-based information technology firm. “Early last year, I had decided to pursue an MS (master of science) course in the US. But looking at the environment, I thought it was too risky. I will join work later this year,” he said.
Chatterjee is not alone. Instead of pursuing higher education, many of his classmates have decided to accept job offers.
With the absence of attractive scholarships for foreign institutions and multiple job offers absent in the market, this year, students have decided to choose a safer option.
This was observed by major recruiters, which have seen a positive impact in their joining ratios. According to industry estimates, joining ratios rose 10-15 per till the quarter ended June.
Joining ratio is the ratio of the number of job offers accepted by the candidates to the number of jobs offered to them in a year’s time.
Ajoy Mukherjee, executive vice-president and head (global human resources), Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said, “Joining ratios have gone up this quarter (ended June). This clearly shows students want to join companies instead of going for higher studies. Though it is too early to give a number, an increase has been noted.”
Deepak Jain, senior vice-president and global head (workforce planning and development), Wipro Technologies, said there was an uptrend in the joining ratio this year—for both engineering and BSc (bachelor of science) streams. He added a definite reason for this was over the last year, the company had conducted various engagement programmes to ensure students remained connected with Wipro after the offer was rolled out.
Placement officers at various colleges attribute the rise in joining ratios to the gloomy economy. S R Pullabhotle, director (placement and training), Vellore Institute of Technology said the rise was due to the fact that other economies, including those in Europe and the US, were witnessing a slowdown.
“Big, fat scholarships are lacking in this scenario. Students do not want to take a risk by rejecting a job offer,” he said.
Another placement head of a technology institute in West Bengal said after completing their engineering degrees, students usually went abroad for a master’s course. Since the economies abroad were bleeding and were in a scenario worse than India, students were playing it safe, he added.
Human resource consulting firms confirm this trend. Sunil Goel, director, GlobalHunt, said apart from the slowdown hitting the economy, a change in the importance given to industry exposure could also be a reason for students choosing jobs over higher studies.
“In recent times, companies have started choosing candidates with industry exposure of about two years, rather than candidates with fancy degrees. Students have quickly caught on to this fact, and have chosen to join companies for add-on experience, instead of studying further,” he said.
E Balaji, managing director and chief executive, Randstad India, said keeping in mind the difficult market conditions, students were trying to consolidate their position by taking on job offers that came their way.
“Students no longer have the luxury of choosing from multiple job offers that were available to them earlier. This could explain the joining ratios rising in some companies,” he said.
According to industry estimates, if the current market conditions prevail, this trend would continue for the next few quarters.
Some consultants say joining ratios could rise further if students start sensing the slowdown in the economy and the job market.