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Fresh grads: Focus on job content, not salary
Shobha Warrier

Photo: Sreeram Selvaraj
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December 15, 2008

Aquil Busrai, the National President of NHRDN was in Chennai to attend the 12th National Conference of the National HRD Network (NHRDN). He is also Executive Director, Human Resources, IBM India Private Ltd.

In this interview, he talks about how the young working professionals and fresh graduates can prepare themselves for the current global economic situation.

The current job scenario
Earlier, there was a bit if arrogance in the fresh graduates because not one or two but three companies chased them. So, there was no seriousness about joining or staying in a company. Some of these graduates were very choosy because there were many jobs available. So, they took jobs for granted.

Attrition was high as they were hopping companies for small amounts. Those times are over.

What kind of jobs to take
I would suggest two things. My suggestion to them now is, choose a company that wants you and not the company you want. And, stay there. This is no time to jump around and experiment.

If you have a stable start in the beginning of your career, even if it is for a lower salary, it is okay. You should forego the idea that you would not work in Tier 2 cities, and that you would not work in lesser known companies.

You should look for job content that can add value to your experience. Only those who are doing well in the company will be kept in troubled times. Those who are not adding value will be under threat.

So, you choose a company where you can learn and contribute. When you are contributing, you are under less threat.

What companies look for during times of economic slowdown
When companies become very choosy during times like this, a fresh graduate has to be either from a good college or has to have good grades or good knowledge. When the chips are down, companies look for people who add value.

So, freshers should make sure that they learn to manage their own expectations. They should not lose heart. In some of the campuses, I see young people thinking their world has ended if they don't get a job. Don't get depressed.

Higher studies as an option
It is a risky proposition to go for a Masters just because you didn't get a job. If you want to add value to your qualifications, go for higher education.

Salary cuts
During the dotcom bust, many used to say, we will stay here even for a smaller salary. Maintaining a job became more important than asking for a raise. Once again, we see those times.

The next two quarters are very crucial. If the global economy continues to remain sluggish, it will be disastrous.

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