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IT firms go slow on hiring from IITs
Kalpana Pathak & Shivani Shinde in Mumbai
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February 25, 2008 08:56 IST

Information technology firms appear to have lost their appeal at the Indian Institutes of Technology. Campus recruitment figures by major Indian and foreign IT firms have dipped this year, raising further concerns of an industry slowdown.

Firms like IBM, HCL [Get Quote], Hughes Software and CSC opted out of placements this year and hiring by firms like India's largest IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services [Get Quote], Infosys [Get Quote] and Wipro [Get Quote] has dropped.

Confirming the trend, a placement official from IIT Roorkee said: "While many companies say they have a particular number in mind and would recruit likewise, our alumni network at these companies informs us that these IT giants are exercising restraint in recruiting trainees due to a slowdown."

Agreed a placement official from IIT Kanpur: "Like every year, the institute offered the regular number of students to these IT companies for placements but they did not pick as many students."

Recruitment by IT companies at IIT Kanpur has gone down from 130 students in 2007 to 72 in 2008.

"Clients from IT firms are increasingly in the process of utilising their bench strength," said Monisha Advani, managing director, Randstad India, an HR consultancy firm.

 With the US slowdown and rupee appreciating against the dollar for most of 2007-08, IT firms are under tremendous pressure to manage margins and costs. IT firms have been in the news recently with TCS, IBM India, Mphasis (an Electronic Data System company) and Yahoo! India asking several hundreds of employees to leave on grounds of "poor performance or non-performance".

"What we have been hearing these days is a clear case of skills mismatch. While non-linear growth is the way forward, it is something that will happen on a long-term basis. In the short term, IT firms will need to have volumes," said Sudin Apte, senior analyst and country head, Forrester India.

The companies, however, maintain with the boom in other sectors like investment banking and retail, and the urge to be entrepreneurs, IT firms are left with little option but to reduce their hiring from these institutes.

"Most students from IITs either want to get into hardcore research or prefer to go in for higher studies. Besides, other sectors also hire in big numbers from these institutes," says an executive from Wipro.

IIT IBM TCS Infosys Wipro
'07 '08 '07 '08 '07 '08 '07 '08 
IIT Madras66No students8136761
IIT Roorkee35Cancels visit3525216145

The companies insist that they remain committed to their campus-hiring plans.

Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO, Infosys, said: "Infosys recruits from 1,100 engineering colleges around the country. The number of students coming out of IITs is far too small - 5,000 - and some of them are going in for higher studies, getting into Research and Development, etc."

He added that Infosys had already made its campus commitments and will stick to them. "Anyway, we recruit just 30 to 40 per cent of our requirement from campuses," he added.

TCS, too, added over 28,000 employees in the current financial year, and has already made over 22,000 campus offers for the next year.

The IT major is also hiring over 2,000 science graduates this fiscal and it plans to increase this to 3,000 in the next fiscal.

Gautam Sinha, chief executive officer of TVA Infotech, a recruitment consultant for IT companies, said signs of a real slowdown would be best indicated by campus hiring, which is expected in June when big companies recruit at campuses in large numbers.

"I am keeping my fingers crossed," he added.

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