Amid global layoffs, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have seen a decline in the offers coming from America-based tech giants such as Amazon, Meta, Twitter and Google in the 2022-23 placement season.
IIT placements are held in two phases – the first phase in December and the second phase between January and June.
Out of the 45 international offers recorded in IIT-Kharagpur so far, there were only three offers from US-based companies, while those based in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore had 28, nine and two offers, respectively.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sathyan Subbiah, adviser (placement), IIT Madras, said, “This academic year, Amazon did not list themselves for the campus placement. However, Google and Microsoft did come for recruitment. But the number of offers they made is much less as compared to last year.”
The situation is no different at IIT-Delhi.
Anishya Madan, head of the Office of Career Services, IIT Delhi, said, “Amazon was invited and they did take the initial tests, but they finally did not turn up for the placement process.”
Amazon and Google had both given pre-placement offers to students the previous academic year at IIT Roorkee, but did not hire this time around.
Mekala Bhavya, a fourth-year student and a core team member of IIT-BHU’s training and placement cell said that Amazon and Google have pulled out of the institute’s placement process. “Last year, we saw many students being recruited from our institute. Students got offers pretty quickly. However, this time, the process has been slow,” she said.
In the 2021 placement session at the BHU, 1,155 students were recruited in the first 10 days of the placement drive and 35 of them had bagged international offers, with the highest package being Rs 2.05 crore from Uber.
Other IITs report a mixed picture.
At IIT Mandi, Google hired no candidate as against three in the last placement season. But it hired eight interns, an increase from two earlier. Amazon’s number increased from 14 to 20. Microsoft hired 11 students. The institute also reported 19 international offers, an increase from 10 last academic year.
Fallout of global layoffs
Bhavya said, “Some students were placed in some start-ups last year, but due to the ongoing economic crisis in the US and the global IT layoffs, they have not yet received a joining date. A couple of companies revoked their offers, but some others have neither revoked nor given a joining date.”
Experts say that companies expanded their workforce to meet the growing demand arising out of online engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic, but are having to cut costs with the world going back to normal again.
“During the pandemic, people across the globe were confined to their homes. So, we saw a sudden spike in online engagement. However, slowly, life is now coming back to the pre-pandemic status. As a result, the engagement across online platforms is dropping. E-commerce, gaming, online education, streaming of online content which saw an exponential growth during the pandemic are now slowing down. Hence, the businesses in these fields are feeling the heat and are forced to lay off some of the employees,” Asmita Chitnis, Director of the Symbiosis Institute of International Business (SIIB) says.
“We have seen such slowdowns in the past and they do not last for more than a year or two. So, this will also pass. As far as possible, these sectors should be avoided in the near future. Aspirants can look for opportunities in the firms such as Meta, Amazon, Twitter, provided it’s a position of a specialist and they are not one of the bulk-hiring candidates,” Chitnis added.
Shift to other sectors
Subbiah flagged the shift from software, the predominant route many engineering graduates take, to other sectors.
He said, “The software companies are not hiring much, but other streams and companies are still recruiting. We have reported higher numbers this year as compared to previous years.”
Kaushik Pal, professor in-charge of placements at IIT Roorkee, said: “This year, the number of offers has increased, but there have been more hirings in other sectors such as banking. However, there has been a 30 per cent decline in total in the number of international offers this year, when compared to last year.”
Abhishek Kumar, the head of the Centre for Career Development at IIT Guwahati said that while “the institute had received good response from companies this year, despite the layoffs and US economic recession, international companies were taking a little more time to process applications now”.
He added: “Companies are more open now and they have a better idea since the Covid pandemic is over. However, since the visa process and relocation is taking more time in the post-Covid days, the process is a little slower now. They are still hiring.”
Some students who were looking forward to getting placed in the top IT companies have now changed their plans.
“I was aiming for getting a spot in the Amazon team through IIT placements… but now, I am not sure anymore because what if I get a job and then I have to come back home due to any future layoffs? There is a lot of fear now,” said a final year student from one of the IITs.
Some students, however, are still interested in getting experience from US-based companies, which have “industry experts”.
Prabhraag Kaur, an MBA student from SIIB said, “I believe that if I make a choice based on the fact that layoffs may occur in these companies then that might not be the best approach. I would like to gain first-hand experience and I think that is much greater than the risk of rejecting it,” she said.
Others stress on the start-up ecosystem in India as a viable alternative.
Samrudhi Pingle, also a student from SIIB, said, “The start-up culture in India has brought about employment opportunities and improvements in the conventional workplace environment, flexibility, and learning curve. Moreover, if the ongoing economic slowdown does result in a global recession, students are hopeful about the boom that follows and confident in their abilities to ride the wave.”