Unsure of hiring fresh graduates, IT companies venture off campus

IT and business process management (BPM) services companies hire around 500,000 fresh graduates every year.
Uncertainty over onboarding of fresh engineering graduates this year has prompted many information technology services firms to opt for off-campus hiring. According to firms, this has become necessary as companies are not sure of deploying fresh graduates during this financial year as engineering colleges have not been able to conduct final semester examinations.

“We give offers to students in their sixth semesters so that they join after their eighth semesters. The Batch of 2020 that was supposed have graduated by July is stuck — creating problems for the industry. So we are doing off-campus hiring, though in small numbers,” said Ashwin Yardi, chief operating officer, Capgemini India.

The technology industry is one of the largest recruiters for fresh graduates in the country. 

IT and business process management (BPM) services companies hire around 500,000 fresh graduates every year. This number will come down this year as colleges have not been able to complete their final examinations since the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the educational cycle.

Traditionally, off-campus hiring comprises only around 5 per cent of the total hiring done in a year. “Most technology firms, such as Microsoft, Accenture, HP, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Mindtree, and Tech Mahindra, have started off-campus hiring. This is a big relief for candidates who couldn’t be placed,” said Sunil C, head of specialised staffing at TeamLease Digital.

Off-campus is usually conducted as a back-filling process, in which juniors are required to maintain the right employee mix in a project to manage the cost efficiently. 

Similarly, companies go for off-campus hiring when they see immediate need of fresh hands in the absence of enough freshers on the bench. Aditya Narayan Mishra, director and chief executive officer at CIEL HR Services, said: “There is a bit of momentum in off-campus hiring in recent months, though the numbers so far are fewer than the previous years. Not every company is going for off-campus hiring.”

While technology firms have started resorting to off-campus hiring to maintain the right employee mix, engineering colleges have requested recruiters to extend the deadline for onboarding of graduates.

For instance, RV College of Engineering in Bengaluru has requested companies to give an extension till August for onboarding students. Principal K N Subramanya said: “In our college, we have only one pending project… As soon as the permission is given for final exams, the process will take just a week.”

Another engineering college, Visvesvaraya Technological University is likely to conduct its final exams by the end of September. “Companies are in touch to enquire about graduation. Some companies want to onboard students from August, but as of now, it can happen by October only as results will be announced by the first or second week of October,” said Binoy Mathew, director, centralised placement cell, Visvesvaraya Technological University .

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