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Engineering campus hiring may fall 1st time since 2009: NASSCOM

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The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Jul 22, 2016 |

CHENNAI: For the first time since 2009, campus recruitment of grads could fall across engineering colleges as companies resort to automation of entry-level coding jobs and look at optimizing their bench strength. India churns out nearly 16 lakh graduate engineers every year, of which nearly two lakh are absorbed by the IT industry – the largest organized recruiter at the campus. The industry could recruit, at best, 2 lakh engineers from campuses, the same as last year. “With clients worldwide tightening their IT spends and the IT industry grasping digital and its nuances, IT companies are focusing on strengthening their existing workforce while trying to understand what the future will hold in terms of skills, jobs and work. From a one-time training system, IT companies will need to adopt ongoing and sustainable training while incentivising self learning,” Nasscom president R Chandrasekhar said. Tech companies recruited two lakh engineers last year, almost the same over the past few years, but sweetened the job offers with a pay hike for freshers after a six-year gap. For the current year, there is no expectation of any pay increase.

“Companies are focusing on increasing utilization levels and reducing bench strength. They are also adopting automation in a big way and reskilling their employees so as to increase the net productivity per employee,” the Nasscom chief said. Over the past four years, utilization levels have improved by 4 percentage points. K Ramachandran, head of strategy at 361 Degree Minds, an online training and education provider, said, “If we go by the muted numbers given by major players, both in previous quarters as well as the informal guidance provided by them, the growth is going to be stunted and this, obviously, would mean lesser new hands would be necessary.” Tech titans begin campus visits in September and conduct tests and interviews for students who have completed their fifth semester.  Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka recently announced that the company would focus on a zero-bench strategy to increase utilization levels. Cognizant reported a substantial drop in its net additions to its workforce in the previous quarter.  TCS, which announced its Q1 results recently, reported a fall in Q1 attrition rate with the company taking steps to control loss of employees. It also reported a dip in net additions as compared to the earlier quarter. With rapidly changing technologies and demand for skilled workforce, he added that around 5-10% of existing jobs could be automated in the next 10 years. While fresh hires might take a hit, there is demand for skills in domains such as robotics, artificial intelligence and social media, among others. Chandrasekhar also added that while at one end automation is leading to loss of jobs, India is also witnessing demand from offshore jobs due to emerging technologies such as biotech, nanotech, smart technologies, etc. The IT industry currently employs 3.7 million people with around 2 lakh net additions in 2015-16, lower than 2.2 lakh additions in 2014-15. The Indian IT-BPM industry would require 1.2-2 million employees to achieve revenues of $100 billion by 2025, he said, revealing findings from a report jointly conducted by Nasscom and McKinsey.

The report suggests that nearly 60-70% of the current workforce will be need to be re-skilled in technology, domain, social and thinking. Chandrashekhar said, “Domain specialization and greater need for soft skills have become the new patterns that we are witnessing throughout the sector. In this new world order, technology and automation have taken the centre stage, and companies are deploying them at a rapid pace to enhance productivity. This trend will bring in a sea change in talent restructuring and deployment, creating healthy competition and re-skilling opportunities.” From the macro perspective, Chandrasekhar said there is no reduction in demand across sectors. “Margins are coming down due to decreasing deal sizes, he said. He also added that India’s market share in global market has been on a rising trend year on year, touching 56% currently.” However, the students need not get disheartened. New players, startups and companies that create apps and work in areas like artificial intelligence, business analytics, Big Data and Internet of Things are likely to look for high-quality freshers. However, usual education or academics alone will not suffice, They need to add value with competency-based certification in these new areas of growth, said Ramachandran. –  Courtesy


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