The bounty of more jobs and better offers in a calamitous year has extended to the newer Indian Institutes of Technologies, allaying fears of a washout during placements as a result of COVID-19.
Some of the second-generation IITs have seen more job offers from the start of the first phase of final placements to date than compared to the previous year.
Of the 23 institutes, seven are known as older IITs, followed by nine second-generation ones set up roughly a decade ago, and seven third-generation IITs that came up 2015-2016 onwards.
IIT Patna, for instance, had placed 200 students hired by 106 recruiters throughout the placement season last year. Yet, this year it has already placed nearly 50 per cent students with a bigger batch size of 250.
One of its B.Tech student has also bagged the highest domestic offer of Rs 47 lakh per annum from DE Shaw.
"Moreover, in the computer science department, we have seen over 70 per cent students getting placed already. From single digits last year, this year 17 students have received packages of above Rs 30 lakh which is higher than last year," says an official at IIT Patna.
"The pandemic has had an impact on core sector hiring, which we believe might pick up in January 2021. IT and consulting jobs have made up for the deficit," the IIT Patna official adds.
Similarly, IIT Ropar had placed 90 of the 115 students by February in the previous season. This year, it has placed 100 students from a batch of 215.
"The newer IITs usually start the placement process a bit earlier. However, due to the pandemic instead of the usual September, we could start by October-November. Yet, this year we have already placed nearly 50 per cent of the batch," says Professor S K Das, director, IIT Ropar.
The trend will improve as after the IT companies, core firms will follow suit in the second phase starting January, Professor Das adds.
This does not mean there has been no impact of the pandemic. Participation of core manufacturing firms and international firms, especially from the US and Europe, has been lower so far.
Also, some of the older IITs too have seen some impact on offers in the first phase though the placement scenario is expected to improve.
At IIT Guwahati, 604 students have been placed in the first eight days of the ongoing process. This is lower than the first phase numbers of 201920-20 (613) but higher than in 2018-2019 (563).
"Due to the pandemic, we saw higher participation from companies in software, cloud computing, modern health care, data science, banking and finance. Also, IT/software, finance, health care and data science have participated more this year. However, we saw a slight decrease in the core engineering sector," says Abhishek Kumar, head, Centre for Career Development, IIT Guwahati.
IIT Kharagpur bagged more than 1,000 offers on phase-I placements for 2020-2021. Until the eighth day of the current session it drew an average salary of nearly Rs 19 lakh per annum. At the close of day one, it had received 400-plus offers. By the fifth day, it had 900 offers.
Similarly, at IIT Madras 616 students have so far been placed as against 776 in 2018-2019 and 735 in 2019-2020.
There was a delay in registration by regular recruiters and also a corresponding drop in the number of offers from a few of them, says C S Shankar Ram, advisor, training and placement, IIT Madras.
"We infer their recruiting plans would have been impacted by COVID-19," says Shankar Ram. "However, more companies have begun approaching us in the past few days, and we are optimistic about more offers into the second phase."
This year, the IITs took pre-emptive measures such as inviting more recruiters or holding virtual Webinars with them over an extended period.
According to Kumar of IIT Guwahati, the institute had been trying to communicate with "more recruiters" as compared to last year.
IIT Patna, on the other hand, is "collaborating with new industry", apart from organising HR talk with students regularly.
At IIT Madras, the placement team developed a standard operating procedure for online interviews and shared it with students. It is also reaching out to students, who report issues with the online process, as and when necessary.
"We have also reached out to more companies including start-ups," says Shankar Ram, "and hope to get more offers from them in the coming days."