The mayhem of the COVID-19 outbreak has been affecting all parts of the economy and now it has finally arrived at the doorstep of placements as well.
Students from the top premier institutes such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have been working immensely hard to secure lucrative jobs during placement season this time. However, instead of big pay packages, they are now suddenly looking forward to an uncertain future further ahead.
According to the Institutes, most companies have assured that they will be honouring their commitments when it comes to offering jobs even though the situation isn’t exactly favourable to them. It was also made known by the Institutes that if the outbreak takes a more serious turn or the lockdown gets extended, options such as virtual onboarding and temporary relocation of foreign jobs to India are some of the options that are being looked into by the companies.
Turns out, the situation is not exactly the way it was anticipated to be.
Earlier this week, Gartner which is a leading US-based consultancy pulled back their job offers from 17 students across IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Madras and IIM-Calcutta. Now, the graduating batch of top engineering and business schools are considering this as the early signs of most placement offers getting rescinded amid this COVID-19 situation.
Even placement cells across these top institutes believe that the worst-case scenario could include job offers being revoked besides the postponement of joining dates and cut in salaries
In anticipation of the problems that lie ahead, the All IITs’ Placement Committee aka AIPC has reached out to all the companies that participated in campus recruitments across all IITs to not revoke their placement offers for the 2019-20 academic year batch of students.
On Friday, in an appeal shared on social media, IIT-Delhi director Ramgopal Rao wrote “We all understand these are difficult times. But please be considerate to keep your promises. A few months of delay may be fine. Please do not complicate the lives of these brightest children in an already complex environment. If at all, they are capable of getting you out of recession faster than you can imagine.”
Abhay Karandikar who is the Director of IIT-Kanpur also came out in the support of the graduating students who are now worried about their future. In a statement on March 30th, he said the campus will be arranging a ‘special placement drive’ in the month of July-August once the current situation has normalized along with helping the students to tap into the vast alumni network which he is affirmative will come forward in their rescue.
Now compared to IITs which have acted swiftly and taken precautionary measures by reaching out to employers asking them to reassure they wouldn’t withdraw their job offers, IIMs are being more cautious.
A Senior Administrative Officer of IIM-Ahmedabad remarked that they believe it will be an ‘overreach’ on their part to communicate with companies about the uncertainty of future as of right now.
At IIM-Bangalore, a senior professor said that they are well aware of the adverse effects on the placements due to the COVID-19 outbreak but are currently resorting to only being watchful.
IIM-Bangalore has reported that they will be reaching out to recruiters in the near future who expressed interest in participating in the placement drive this year and recheck with them if they are still open to hiring.
Job Market and Placement Freeze: Urgent Measures Required
While most of these premier institutes are betting big on their relationship with recruiters and companies to deal with the problem of placement freeze, Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on the other hand in a video conference with 23 IIT heads directed that a task force should be set up for placements.
He said that the task force should be set up in liaison with various companies to ensure that adequate placements are provided to all the students so that they do not get affected via the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also suggested that a helpline equipped with psychologists to specifically address the mental health-related challenges of students during this lockdown should be set up by all institutes as well.
Now, it remains to be seen what the future holds for the placement of the 2019-20 batch of students along with the entire job market post the lockdown and the eradication of the pandemic. We will keep you posted.