The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic constrained us within our homes, in front of our laptop screens. Almost all the varsities shifted to digital platforms, but the major problem that risen was for the final year students.
According to a recent survey by Naukri.com, 66% of the students did not receive their offer letters and 44% of the students faced deferring joining dates even after getting hired. The report also highlighted the 33% of the students, who did not get a call back from the employer regarding their status of employment.
With almost living through 15 months of the pandemic, students were hoping for things to get back to normal as the cases were ebbing away earlier in March. But the onset of the second wave of the virus crushed all the hopes of the students. Students will have to set in the new normal of digitization.
Firms have changed their hiring process from full-time to unpaid or stipend-based internships, to cut costs. Companies are even reducing the number of hiring employees and are also offering comparatively lower compensation packages.
Manvender, a student of English journalism is worried about getting a job since companies are facing a financial crunch and he’s a fresher. “We were eagerly waiting for the placement fortnight that was scheduled for June but later it got postponed to July. We’ve been notified that many companies are facing financial crunch & hence they’re not looking for recruitment this year.
Only a few companies have joined so far for placement in our college but only with minimal vacancies. Besides affecting the health sector, Covid has also posed major setbacks for small businesses and it’s going to affect freshers like us, who are seeking jobs. The unemployment rate is sky-high in our country & lately this reality is getting very unsettling & scary for me”, Manvender added.
IIMC, one of the top institutions of India had to postpone its placement fortnight due to the passive response from the giant firms. Students are worried about the drive as the companies are not confirmed yet and the placement cell has bestowed half of the responsibilities on student coordinators.
Komal Adlakha, a student of IIMC commented on the state of placement, “Marginal or no placements have hugely affected students’ headspace. There’s a constant fear of remaining unemployed even after college ends. Sadly, the institutions no longer take the responsibility of getting their students placed and ensuring their economic and financial safety.
Also, there’s a lack of strategy behind planning placement drives. Our college supposedly planned a drive for mid-June which got postponed because apparently the companies they had to reach out to, did not sign up for the drive. When the students raised questions on the placement cell of the college, they rather than holding themselves to be responsible for this, pushed students to reach out to the organizations to sign up for the drive which now, is supposed to begin from mid-July.”
Although there are uncertainties, a few top players like Zee, Adfactors, TCS, and TOI continued their recruitment drive.
According to Koushal, a student of IIMC, “Placement has been a disappointment and couldn’t meet his expectation. Most importantly there is still confusion about the companies that all will come for the drive. We were told that we’ll be given a list of companies for the fortnight in June but it hasn’t happened.
Fortnight is postponed for July with an uncertainty of a number of companies. Even though some of the companies have approached but the number of posts is limited to 3 or 4. We were sure that we will be placed but now there is a state of disarray”.
Industry experts from IIM, MU, Jaipuria, and NCU institutions believe that students can turn these challenges into opportunities. The companies are shifting to digital platforms and a tech-savvy graduate will be an asset to the company. Pandemic has accelerated the process of digital India and it has emerged in a big way. It has also imposed an obligation on the students to learn cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI, ML, data analysis, etc.
Priyanka, a final year B.Com student has decided to work in a call centre.
“I would have ideally liked to work in a finance company where I could put my skills to use. But as my father is the sole breadwinner, I will have to take up a call centre job even though it does not interest me. Our seniors told us they were offered 15k rupees per month when they were placed last year. The same company is offering 10k rupees this year”, said Priyanka.
Amaresh Kadagada, State president of the Students’ Federation of India, Karnataka said that the government should intervene to bridge the gap between the colleges and companies as for the interest of the students. He said, “This is an unprecedented year. The government has to put in extra effort to ensure that unemployment levels among the youth do not increase further”.
“A lot of people lost their jobs during the pandemic. Now, we as freshers will have to compete with people who have few years of experience on their hand. Therefore, after the pandemic, our state will be saturated with the majority of unemployed individuals, with no job opportunities. Our state should definitely look into this matter and try to create job opportunities for the youth so that the number of unemployed population could be declined”, added Manvender on job prospects after COVID-19.