BANGALORE: India's IT companies, which hired approximately 1.5 lakh students from campuses last year, will be hiring much less during this placement season starting August-September.
Country's third-largest software exporter Wipro, which had planned to keep the ratio of on-campus and off-campus hiring at 90:10 in the beginning of the year, has now changed it to 70:30, a senior executive from the Bangalore-based company said. "We will hire in a measured way till we get more (demand) visibility and increase off-campus numbers," the executive added.
In campus hires, companies have to make offers and wait for at least six months till the student finishes his degree. But it can hire off-campus as and when there is demand for more hands. Off-campus recruitments include freshers who had opted out of placements and some with very little work-experience and are picked by companies through hiring drives and job fairs.
"Off-campus hiring is gaining traction, especially among large IT firms that are cautious and are not able to take long-term business decisions," says Nasscom President Som Mittal said. "It helps them to take hiring decisions based on their needs."
Nasscom has cut IT-BPO industry's growth forecast to 11-14% this year, down from 16% last year. Some companies like Infosys have given a revised projection of 5%. IT companies are looking to calibrate hiring to the slowdown.
Last month, country's second-largest IT exporter Infosys said it could delay the joining dates of over 25,000 freshers it had hired from campuses in the 2011 placement season. Its mid-tier rival iGate, too, has delayed joining dates of close to 1,000 fresh engineers by a month or two.
TCS, India's largest IT firm which will hire 50,000 people this year, plans to maintain its campus hiring.
Companies say that quality is not an issue in off-campus hiring - despite many of the applicants being rejects from previous placement processes - if one is prepared to search harder for the right hires. "If 3 out of 10 people are suitable on-campus, that ratio will be much lower off-campus. You have to drudge a lot more to get the right people," says Naveen Narayanan, Global Head -Talent Acquisition, HCL Technologies.
HCL is willing to take the extra effort and will maintain its 70:30 ratio of on-campus to off-campus this year. It makes economic sense to spread hiring across all months, instead doing the bulk during placement season.
Mid-tier firms are following suit, but to break the monopoly enjoyed by the IT mammoths during placements. "Off-campus increases our chance of finding the right talent," Parthasarathy NS, COO of MindTree, said. "Large companies often visit campuses and recruit 95% of the best students on day one. Smaller firms, which typically visit on day 3 and 4, are left with a very small number," he added.
MindTree has therefore decided to increase its off-campus quota from 10% of total hires to 30% this year. This strategy is expected to give the Bangalore-based firm wider reach in tier-III and -IV colleges.
"Given the uncertain economic scenario, I would assume that on-campus placement numbers are going to come down this year," says Bhaskar Chavli, Chief Delivery Officer at NIIT Technologies. "Companies may want to see how business turns out and then decide on hiring targets."
Gurgoan-based start-up CoCubes.com - it connects companies and colleges through an online recruitment platform - has seen on-campus hiring over the past one year drop by 30-40%. The start-up, which works with companies like Capgemini and UST Global, had experienced a rush for off-campus demand in 2010. Back then Accenture placed urgent orders for 1,500 freshers off-campus in eight weeks and feels sudden demand will come their way again.
"A similar trend seems to be coming back this year as more companies wait for the economic environment to stabilise and then finalise their hiring plans," says Harpreet Singh Grover, co-founder and CEO of CoCubes.com.
Source : TOI