BANGALORE: Right in the middle of the placement season in 2010, at one of the popular Tier 2 engineering colleges in Mumbai, Rohith, 21, decided not to sit for any placement tests. In 2008, when his sister passed out of the same college, she was recruited by one of the top IT services companies and was offered an annual package of Rs 3 lakh.
Three years down the line, Rohith and other aspiring software engineers of his batch were offered the same package to be part of what they considered the most exciting industry. India’s IT firms recruits an increasing number of fresh graduates every year and is one of the largest white-collar employers.
But the packages offered to campus hires at most Tier 2 engineering colleges have remained unchanged since the 2008-09 downturn, stagnating between Rs 3 and Rs 3.5 lakh. While the demand for IT and IT-enabled jobs remain high, placement coordinators and students say more Indian IT firms have refused to hike fresher salaries. And the clear reason for this: growing availability of good talent and a spurt in engineering colleges in the past three years.
India has the largest technical and scientific manpower globally and total graduate outturn – the number coming out of colleges – across sectors has doubled over the last decade enabling greater scalability for customers. The outturn of technical graduates and post graduates increased to over 7 lakh in FY11 compared to a little over 5.5 lakh in FY10, says Nasscom in a report earlier in the year. Enrolment in technology colleges in the same period increased sharply from 12 lakh to 16 lakh.
“Being able to work for one of the top 5 IT companies is a big thing among students. The entry-level salary in most of the IT companies such as Infosys, Wipro , TCS and Cognizant have remained between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 3.25 lakh since 2008. Even if they offer the same package in future, demand for these jobs is not going to come down” , says Varkey Philip, who heads the placements committee at the Rajagiri Institute of Engineering and Technology at Kochi. He says IT is still the most preferred for most engineering graduates.
At RV College of Engineering in Bangalore too, entry-level salaries are stagnant at the pre-2008 recession level. While companies like Oracle and Microsoft offer between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 8 lakh to freshers, Indian IT companies, which recruit more, offer Rs 3.5 lakh on an average. NS Narasimhan, director of placements and training at RV College, says colleges are only worried about getting all the students placed, and not about the level of their salaries.
“Most of the graduates work for a year or two and make the most out of your new job and experience. Colleges are only worried about getting them the job. Companies are not going to witness a supply shortage and hence they are not compelled to raise salary packages”, he said.