With the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on businesses, final year students are left staring at an uncertain future as companies are showing little interest in college recruitment, while those already hired are either seeing offers rescinded or deferred.
In the absence of aggressive recruitment like in recent years, with several firms putting their recruitment drives on hold, students in India are staring at a tough year ahead.
According to a report by education counselling portal Shiksha, sectors like banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), retail and logistics, which are the spaces with frontline hiring, are likely to delay offers they make to graduates as more companies will likely opt for technology-enabled services as an alternative to maintain the pace of productivity.
"Since the outbreak of COVID-19, companies have been cancelling interviews. We expect 60-65 percent interviews getting dropped or delayed as there is lockdown across the country and people are encouraged to stay at home to curtail the spread of the virus," Amit Vadera, business head - BFSI and government vertical at TeamLease Services, said in Shiksha report.
While many business and engineering students have been placed as these firms conduct campus placements between December and April, some are still struggling to find jobs and those hired may have a prolonged wait before they get on board.
At Chetna's Institute of Management and Research in Mumbai, Ugam Solutions offered 15 students offer letters by October 2019 with the joining dates between March and April 2020. However, the company this month informed the trainees that they cannot join due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
As per Shiksha, IT major Cognizant will bring 20,000 freshers on-board this financial year but the joining dates will depend on various factors, including the actual completion of the academic courses and business of the company, both of which will be affected by the crisis.
The report also cited a tweet by an IIM-Udaipur graduate, who was offered a job by a UAE company, but has now been told that his joining has been delayed indefinitely due to the uncertainty over the crisis.
Moreover, MNCs are revisiting their hiring plans and revoking offers due to closing of inter-state as well as international borders or lockdown measures are put in effect to contain the pandemic.
Global research firm Gartner has reportedly revoked its final placement offers and even internships at IIM-Calcutta and IIM-Ahmedabad. Besides, a leading US-based consultancy revoked its job offers to 11 IIT students from the Delhi, Kanpur and Chennai campuses.
“I secured a job offer from a US-based leading global market in oilfield services as a Junior Field Engineer. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and some changes in company's policies, the firm has decided to rescind all the job offers,” Vidushi Toshniwal, a civil engineering graduate from IIT-Delhi, wrote on LinkedIn.
In a tweet, V Ramgopal Rao, director, IIT-Delhi, reminded companies of their policies and urged them to honour the same.
Media firms too have been severely affected by the crisis. Some of the leading companies have announced layoffs and salary cuts in the past few weeks. During such uncertain times campus placement is an onerous challenge for journalism schools.
Vasist Sharma, a student pursuing business journalism at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, said that the students at his campus have been advised by a professor to find jobs on their own if they had contacts. “Reuters was planning to hire but at the last moment, it decided to freeze hiring,” said Sharma, adding that The Ken, another company that showed interest in recruitment, has put its plans on hold.
“This time, almost all the companies have delayed their hiring plans from the college due to the virus shutdown," said Abhishek Chatterjee, another ACJ student.
Honey Chaurasia, 20, who is pursuing a course at Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training, says no airline has come for hiring in the last few months and uncertainty continues with the crisis showing no signs of abating. It is to be noted that Vistara, GoAir and SpiceJet have decided to send their employees on leave without pay.
Even top firms have stalled recruitment for the time being. Google has said that it is looking to slow down hiring. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, in a memo on April 15, talked about cost-cutting. "Now is the time to significantly slow down the pace of hiring," he wrote.
First Published: IST