Saurabh Gupta, an engineering student from Thane, Mumbai, got himself a job at an IT company at a monthly salary of Rs 7,000. Had he graduated last year, Gupta would have been drawing around Rs 25,000 a month, 72 per cent more than his current salary.
All the same, Gupta is not complaining. Many of his batch-mates are still looking for jobs and some are even settling for salaries as low as Rs 5,000 a month.
"I decided it was better to take this job and gain some experience rather than be jobless," said Gupta. He paid Rs 2 lakh for a three-year Master's degree in computer engineering.
Out of 60 students, Gupta's institute has been able to place only eight so far. Last year, half the batch had found jobs by this time.
The situation at various second-run management and engineering institutes is no different, courtesy the slowdown that has impacted even their better-known counterparts like the Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Technology.
In fact, average salaries for final placements at some second-rung B-schools are expected to fall as much as 35 per cent with some schools finding it tough to achieve a 100 per cent placement.
For instance, at SIES College of Management Studies, Navi Mumbai, the average annual salary has dropped almost 33 per cent from Rs 6 lakh last year to Rs 4 lakh so far. The highest salary last year was Rs 12.5 lakh; this year, the institute expects it to peak at Rs 8-10 lakh. The lowest salary has dropped 50 per cent from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 2 lakh this year.
"With the tier-I B-schools also approaching other companies beside their regular recruiters, many companies have withdrawn from the campuses. This is affecting placements at tier-II B-schools," said Jharna Lulla, placement manager, SIESCOM.
Another B-school, the Institute for Technology and Management, has seen a 30 per cent drop in its highest salary from Rs 10 lakh last year to Rs 7 lakh this year. The lowest salary was Rs 3.5 lakh, and the institute has decided not to allow any company on the campus that offers less than this. ITM thinks it will manage 80 per cent placements this year."Companies are taking advantage of the financial meltdown and quoting lower salaries. We have asked students to be patient because the situation might improve in the next few months," said Arun Saxena, placements chairperson, ITM.
For its 2007-08-batch of 360 students, ITM had placed around 90 per cent of the students by January 2008. This year, the institute so far has been able to place only 30 per cent of the students.
"Students who wanted placements in the financial sector are going for sales and marketing jobs. We have been asked to take a practical approach and not look only at dream jobs," said a student from ITM who requested anonymity.
At another engineering institute, only six companies have visited the campus so far against 20 companies last year. The institute says software companies have declined to come for placements this time.