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Slowdown effect: IT firms defer joining dates, tech grads worried

MUMBAI: Despite the global slowdown, campus placement season in city engineering colleges had seemed upbeat last academic year. Several students from top colleges bagged more than one offer on an average, but these attractive offers are yet to turn into reality.
Most IT firms and IT consulting companies have deferred their joining dates by more than six months, and several students, who were to start work from the first week of August, have now been asked to join from January.
This is not all. A company, which had offered an annual package of around Rs 4.5 lakh during presentation, brought the figure down to Rs 3.95 lakh along with the joining bonus when the actual offer was made. Students were offered anywhere between Rs 3.5 lakh and 7 lakh a year. Another IT firm, which had hired students from the city for its Mumbai office, is now placing them in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Placement season in most engineering colleges starts from July, at the beginning of the final year session, and continues till November. Students who get offers are given joining dates for July or August in the next year, after they graduate.
Rahul Mantri, an engineering graduate from a suburban college, who got an offer from a consultancy firm in November 2012, was to get his joining date this month. "When I got the offer, I was told that I would be joining by the first week of July.
Now, the firm has informed our placement office about the delay. I have joined my family business for now. Around 10 students from my college, who were hired by this software MNC, are waiting for their joining date to come by," he said.
A leading consultancy and audit firm had hired around hundreds of candidates from across the country this year. While others have started work, the joining dates for city students have been deferred to January 2014. The firm had hired 36 students from a college in the western suburbs, and 20 more from another top college.
"Our joining dates have been deferred.
While I have taken up an internship in a start-up firm, most of my friends are sitting at home. We cannot even join a certificate programme to enhance our job skills as we are not sure in which process we will be placed after joining," said Rakesh Mehra, a student.
A few firms have not even intimated the placement offices of colleges, adding to students' anxiety.
Prachi Gharpure, principal of Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, said 120 of the 200 students from the current batch are awaiting their joining dates. "Firms, which had taken limited recruits, have given joining dates, but those, which had carried out bulk hirings, have delayed the process. They might be trying to adjust all the candidates in different batches," said Gharpure.
G T Thampi, principal of Thadomal Shahani College of Engineering, said most firms are affected by the slowdown. "The depreciating value of rupee is adding to their troubles."
Principal J M Nair of Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology said a few firms in core engineering branches have also have postponed the joining dates.
"Most organisations are adjusting the onboarding process to match the tepid growth of the industry. I am sure , as has always been the case,
all offers will be honoured in due course," said Hari T, chief marketing officer and global head (business consulting), Tech Mahindra.
(Students' names changed; inputs by Samidha Sharma)

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