If you're an engineer then landing a decent job during placement season - which began last week with NASSCOM's blessings - ought to be a cinch. But this logic that is already wearing thin for metropolitan colleges, is only worse for smaller colleges in tier-2 and tier 3 cities. While students crib that a majority of leading companies visit only elite institutions in major cities like Chennai, Coimbatore, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the recruiting companies claim that students in non metro cities lack basic guidance on campus placements.
Academicians also agree that lack of support or guidance on career opportunities is a major problem faced by students from Tier-3 cities. “Around 60-70 percent of students are first generation learners, and they do not get guidance from their family. They have to depend on teachers who are ill-equipped to guide them, as they themselves are not exposed to the requirement of industries. The academic curriculum and teaching-learning method in our education system also does not prepare the students for their professional life,” said a senior academician, who is involved in placement drives in a college down South.
This sentiment is echoed by the other side too. A HR manager working with a renowned automobile company in Coimbatore said, “When we go for campus recruitment, 80 percent of the jobs are in the service sector, where communication in English is essential. Unfortunately, students from tier-3 cities are not capable of even having a base level conversation in English. Companies also expect students to have a minimum level of proficiency in Mathematics, which would provide them skills for analytics and problem-solving abilities.”
Firms like EmployabilityBridge are attempting to stem that tide. Working along with placement coordinators to pitch their students better, this organisation is a platform where expectations from companies are brought out to the students to facilitate their interview preparations. EmployabilityBridge tracks performance of students in various fields and provides continuous feedback in several areas of improvement. Revealing the recent placement trend in colleges, Emmanuel Justus, CEO, Employability Bridge says, “The average employability has been hovering between 7% -10%. This drops significantly to 3 to 5% in the Tier 2/3 cities. This challenge has been deterring companies from visiting campuses in these cities. Colleges have adopted different methods to address this, such as pooled campus placements, job fairs, off-campus drives and preparing students through intense placement training programs, on which students spend a minimum of Rs 6000 every Year. We realised the employability factor was also impacted due to the lack of proper access to companies." Along with CII, they engineered a programme called FLAG, owing to which there has been a steady rise in the placement percentages in colleges from Tier 2/3 cities
Mohammed Sammer, who passed out of R M K College of Engineering and Technology, Gummidipoondi and was placed with Saint Gobain said, “This year, even companies like IBM, Sodexo, Mindtree and Saint Gobain have recruited students from our college. Such programmes provide a lot of add-on training that helps them land a better job than they normally would.” Over and above the big corporates, startups could hold the key to tapping talent from the smaller towns, Emmanuel said, “An interesting trend in the placement scenario in tier 2/3 cities is the rise in the start-ups looking to hire from here. Startups are offering higher pay packages in a bid to get the best talent. This year it is the startups who have beaten large ones in beginning their hiring early and offering more than 30% increase in their packages. We also see a similar trend in the core engineering sector which has increased their packages by about 12%.”
Typical screening by companies are through aptitude tests and these students find it difficult to understand the question and respond
Students' presentation and communication skills are found lacking
The level and quality of education differs from the metros, because of the believed ease of availability of academics with technology
Access to the right faculty makes the biggest difference since the quality teaching personnel prefer to be in the metros and not serve in a non-metro
This is a double whammy as students from the non-metros need the most support, but they’re taught by less qualified or quality faculty