It’s not enough to be one among the seven in 10,000 students who make it to Indian Institutes of Technology or IITs. Gone are the days when you could say an entry into any of the 23 IITs would guarantee a placement at a big-shot company and a hefty pay package by the end of your engineering degree.

This is especially true for nearly 8,000 IITians who are yet to find jobs in the IIT 2023-34 placement drive i.e. 38% of those students who registered to appear in campus placements.

This is almost twice the number of students who were not placed in 2023 and more than double the number in 2022, according to a collation of data by IIT Kanpur alumnus and placements mentor Dheeraj Singh.

This data that Singh shared is based on responses to his Right to Information (RTI) applications to all 23 IITs, the institutions’ annual reports, media reports and his interaction with students and placement cells.

CNBC-TV18 accessed responses to at least six RTIs that the IIT Kanpur alumnus used for the collation of data.

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It must be noted that Singh submitted his request for IITs’ data in April 2024 and received the responses between April end and mid-May. Therefore, the absolute number may slightly vary as the placement season at IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kanpur — so-called older IITs — usually begins in December, while the newer ones start earlier in August-September. It is still underway though at almost the fag end.

Next challenge — pay package

Does studying at IIT guarantee you a high-paying job? Apparently not. The median CTCs offered to IITians this year has come down to about ₹17 lakh per annum, according to the aforementioned RTI responses. Though it’s declining, it is still in the similar range when compared to the past two years.

A handful of IITians bagging over ₹1 crore or even ₹2 crore packages often make headlines but what is surprising is the salaries being offered at the lower end. Multiple media reports suggest the annual packages are falling below ₹10 lakh, in fact even to the range of ₹3.6 lakh to ₹6 lakh.

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“In fact, since many companies are not hiring, they are taking interns and paying them a stipend of anything like ₹60,000 to ₹80,000 annually,” Singh, the founder of the Global IIT Alumni Support Group explained.

Why are IITians unable to get jobs?

The reports about layoffs, whether at startups or global big tech players like Microsoft, Google or Amazon, are not uncommon for almost two years now. The trickle-down effect is also on campus placements like IITs as most advancement of technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning have wiped off low end tech sector jobs with companies focusing on profitability and cost efficiency.

“The likes of Wipro, and Infosys have frozen new campus hiring. They used to hire approximately 20% of the students per year,” Singh said.

Reflecting on the declining number of job offers, Singh, who also mentors over 350 students across 15 IITs, told CNBC-TV18, “The domestic market is certainly not generating enough jobs. Though the GDP is growing at a fast pace, the real economy that produces jobs has been witnessing jobless growth or possibly a negative job growth.” Old jobs are getting destroyed but new jobs are not being created at an exceeding pace, he added.

Another reason he believes is that from a policy perspective, not enough thought has gone into creating jobs to cater to even the top cream layer of engineers in the country. “Forget about those students studying in tier 2, 3 and 4 colleges,” he says.

Also Read: TeamLease CFO says it’s still too early to tell if IT hiring has returned to normal

He also pointed to course redundancy and the gap between what is being taught at these colleges and the industry demand.

Also, he explained that usually, IITians are hesitant to accept offers below 10 lakh per annum, which is why companies also think instead of hiring a hesitant employee who might not stick around, they might as well hire from NITs or other private colleges for whom it may be a dream salary.

Meanwhile, staffing expert Munira Loliwala, AVP- Strategy and Growth, TeamLease Digital, told CNBC-TV18, “Education in India is on a reshift from core universities to IITs / IIMs with now cross-border education establishments rising in India that have increased number of students enrolled vs the demand of opportunities in certain sectors such as IT, manufacturing, energy and others that is yet to gain momentum.”

She added that the drop in placements reflect not just sector headwinds but percentage of students skilled towards the required job role, percentage of graduates choosing entrepreneurship as career and percentage of students likely to miss the opportunity due to lack of latest technologies versus the ones studied.

CNBC-TV18 is awaiting a response from IIT for more details on the placement trends this season.

The cost of mental health

Sharing a personal anecdote, Singh said a few months ago he got a message from one of the students at an IIT expressing dismay at not getting placement. In January this year, he heard the news of that student dying by suicide.

In February, a Times of India report said that a 20-year-old student of biosciences and bioengineering at the IIT-Roorkee died by suicide.

Earlier in January, a 29-year-old PhD student at IIT-Kanpur was found dead in the girl’s hostel. This was the second case of suspected suicide in January after a 31-year-old MTech second-year student allegedly allegedly dies by suicide at the institute.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2021, students accounted for 8% (13,089) of deaths by suicides in the country.

By qhfmb

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