A study conducted at IIT Bombay has concluded that the majority of BTech students receive salaries that are far lower than the crore-plus packages.

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Data from the Centre of Policy Studies, IIT Bombay, reveals that for the 4-year period 2014-18, the most generous job offers to engineering graduates from IIT Bombay came from the finance sector, with a median salary of Rs 21 lakh in 2018 being the highest. The lowest placement offer of Rs 2 lakh was in the education sector in 2015. During 2018, the median salaries across industries varied from Rs 6.6 lakh to Rs 21 lakh, with the maximum salary of Rs 45 lakh offered by the financial sector in both 2017 and 2018.

The paper, published in Current Science, stated that the majority of students were given much smaller offers than the few who had quite high ones. The authors, Namit Agrawal, Sailakshmi Sreenath, Shishir K. Jha and Anurag Mehra, also discovered that within the same period, 60% of BTech graduates from IIT Bombay had been placed in ‘non-core’ professions such as consulting and finance. For many years, consulting, information technology (IT)/software, and engineering were the primary recruiting sectors, with IT/software and engineering providing 40% of all placements at IIT Bombay.

The research conducted on IIT Bombay’s placement data from 2013 to 2019, along with a survey of undergraduate students of the third, fourth and fifth years of graduating batches of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 revealed how pay, career growth and flexibility play a key role in a student’s decision making process when it comes to choosing a role during placements. Out of the 2109 students (from BTech, dual-degree and BS programmes) surveyed, 269 responded.

The researchers observed that there are not many options for core opportunities, internships or self-learning projects, and there are deficiencies in the educational program which further affects students’ desired job placements.

BTech Jobs: Non-core vs core

The research has revealed that in most departments, excluding computer science and electrical engineering, the majority of students tend to prefer non-core jobs to core jobs. This decision is largely influenced by the greater flexibility and potential for career growth that these jobs offer. Additionally, the survey showed that students perceived non-core roles to be more financially rewarding while core jobs were believed to be less financially beneficial. Furthermore, non-core roles require generic skills and do not require students to develop specialised technical knowledge, which is another factor that draws them to these jobs. The lack of internships and projects in the core sector makes it difficult for students to transition to core roles.

The paper revealed that the average salary offered in core sectors like engineering and technology, research and development and IT/software has dropped over the years. This means that the wages offered to non-computer science engineering (CSE) students are lower compared to those of CSE students, the paper noted. Furthermore, analytics and consulting sectors provide the majority of the IIT Bombay placements in departments like aeronautical, chemical, metallurgical and material science.

The pressure on students to obtain employment during the placement season is immense. “Individuals feel a need to get a job at a rapid rate, which is often referred to as the ‘day 1’ syndrome. Additionally, in order to reduce the stress of the placement process, many choose to accept jobs in non-core slots during the early stages instead of waiting for core positions later on,” the research stated.

BTech Branches: CSE, mechanical, civil

The study showed that over 80% of all domestic IIT Bombay placement offers come from the following sectors:

  • Engineering and technology
  • IT/software
  • Consulting and analytics

The engineering and technology industries continually offer 20-25% of the positions in all years. Additionally, analytics is a major employer, and the interest of non-CSE students in this field has grown over time, the paper states. The report goes on to say that “analytics has become a popular choice for students, providing a broad range of jobs such as data scientists and strategists.”

The IT and software sector companies that visit IIT B annually have a primary focus on the student’s ability to code. Mathematics and pattern recognition abilities are common in IIT graduates and thus a lot of these companies recruit students based on their coding proficiency without much consideration to the branch they are from. This has caused a lot of students to put in effort to sharpen their programming skills right from the start of their first semester.

The FMCG sector had the greatest average salary out of all the sectors, however the number of offers were fewer compared to other sectors. IT/software and analytics were other high-paying sectors that had a high number of job openings.

The study found that CSE students have the best job prospects, as they can fit into practically any sector. Mechanical engineers can find employment in aerospace, software, technical consulting, and construction, while civil engineers have fewer opportunities.

Novel programmes, projects

The amount of available spots in IITs has grown significantly in recent years, resulting in a larger student body studying a variety of courses, but fewer jobs in the core disciplines. This paper highlights that the standard practice of expanding the number of available seats by a set percentage has caused many traditional departments to have large, impractical classes. Many students have come to accept that they are likely to pursue non-core jobs, causing them to lose enthusiasm for core courses.

The paper proposes that the placement cell of IIT Bombay should make efforts to bring in more lucrative core profiles to offer more chances to the students with core engineering backgrounds. Furthermore, it suggests that the institute should carry out professional surveys among the industries, students, and faculty to figure out the different job profiles and wages. The paper suggests that to understand the students’ interests, desires and the faculty’s views on the job market, along with their correlation with the curricular content, surveys of students and faculty should be conducted.

The survey revealed that both students and businesses frequently gripe that the instruction given at IITs is ‘excessively theoretical’. The paper recommends the introduction of unique, interdisciplinary programs. It proposes to gradually lead the majority of students into the new programs, while maintaining the size of the batches in traditional courses at practical levels. Additionally, it suggests incorporating the objective of developing technical involvement and increasing the incorporation of projects related to ‘real-life’ difficulties in the curriculum.

Mayank Tewari

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