Such hiring is restricted to top colleges and forms just one to two per cent of the overall recruitment
Competition from product companies and changes in customers’ technological requirements are forcing information technology players to change their hiring strategy.
Companies like IBM, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, Wipro, and Cognizant, which visit engineering campuses for recruitment, are hiring engineers with niche skill sets and are paying them higher salaries.
Such hiring is restricted to top colleges and forms just one to two per cent of the overall recruitment.
TCS hired around 200 niche engineers from 55 universities in 2015-16.
Mumbai’s Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute this year had TCS coming to hire a handful of niche engineers who were paid almost double the entry level salary.
“Last year, we had IBM doing the same thing.
"Wipro took around 34 students in this segment and did not participate at all in the mass recruitment category.
"The salary package starts from Rs 600,000,” said the professor in charge of placements at the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute.
The scene is the same at most Tier-I engineering campuses, though the number of hires in the special category is still in the double digits.
“When services companies have a similar profile as a product company they have to match pay.
Though services companies are hiring for niche skills, they are not consistent with the hiring numbers,” said Ganapathy, dean of placements at SRM University in Chennai.
“There has always been categorisation of colleges when it comes to hiring for niche practices such as product engineering services and industry verticals like telecom and energy,” said Subrahmanyam P, senior vice-president, Wipro.
“The mix of hiring from these colleges keeps varying, depending on the business demand and availability of candidates,” he added.
Rahul Dahatonde, training and placement officer at Sardar Patel College of Engineering, said, “These numbers are still very small.
"Most of them are doing this so that they can tell their clients they have access to talent from Tier-I colleges and in the required skill segment.”
Human resources experts feel with increased automation the number of entry level IT jobs will come down and companies will focus on more niche skills.
“Research says 30 per cent of IT jobs will be redundant in coming years. But, there are companies willing to pay more if candidates have skills in the SMAC segment,” said Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO and founder, The Head Hunters.
The image is used for representational purpose only. Photograph: Reuters