IIT placements: Campus blues: mass layoffs put IITians on edge

IIT placements: Campus blues: mass layoffs put IITians on edge

A degree of apprehension has crept into elite Indian Institute of Technology campuses that are in the middle of a placement season, triggered by the news of layoffs at a number of recruiters including Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Goldman Sachs.

While the second phase of placements is underway at IITs for the Class of 2023 with around half the batch already placed, students are worried about the possibility of some internship and final offers being revoked or pushed back later in the year due to macroeconomic conditions, placement representatives across old IITs told ET.

Concerns are around tech firms and even startups, both sectors that hire actively from IITs but have been seeing volatility and layoffs recently.

The latest developments come a year after a bumper placement season for the Class of 2022. The worries are heightened among the current final year batch by news also of students from previous batches getting laid off.

A student at IIT-Kanpur’s placement cell told ET that they have heard of students from earlier batches who have lost their job.

“We do not have a policy of previous students participating in placements with the current batch,” he said. “But should a high number of them reach out to us, we may have to think about it. Right now, though, no one has reached out to us directly regarding the same.”

There is a sudden fall from the highs of last year, said another student at IIT-BHU (Varanasi), adding: “These sudden ups and downs in the job market are creating worry among the students sitting for placements.”

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The whole of 2021 and a part of 2022 had seen exceptionally high demand for tech talent, triggered by pandemic-induced rapid digitisation and pent-up demand. But with economies now slowing down in some countries, the digitisation pace took a hit and companies have resorted to headcount reduction to save costs, hurting also demand for new jobs.

ET spoke to one of the 2022-batch graduates from IIT-Kanpur who lost his job in the first week of January this year. He had in August 2022 joined the Gurgaon office of a tech company at a salary package close to Rs 25 lakh per annum, excluding stock options. “Now I am even ready to work at Rs 15 LPA,” he said.

With the demand for tech talent dipping in the last couple of months, many are not able to get jobs at the previous salary packages.

Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Goldman Sachs have operations in India and also are regular recruiters at top Indian campuses including IITs. This year, both Microsoft and Amazon are hiring fewer numbers from the campuses, according to multiple placement sources.

Tech giant Microsoft earlier this week said it plans to slash close to 10,000 jobs, or nearly 5% of its workforce, by the end of its fiscal third quarter, in an attempt to save $1 billion in costs. But in a blogpost on January 18, chief executive Satya Nadella also said the company “will continue to hire in key strategic areas”.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said earlier that job cuts, which would likely affect about 6% of the company’s roughly 300,000 employees, would mostly impact the ecommerce and human resources divisions, according to media reports.

So far, no offers have been revoked at IITs. “Revoked offers, if any, will happen only post-May. Till now no offers, including those for internships, have been revoked,” said an IIT Bombay official.

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Author: Shirley