Monday, December 28, 2015

PLACEMENT STORY:At IITs, median offers are more modest

Contrary to the media narrative on crore-plus offers at the IITs, the median salaries offered to new graduates are far more modest, internal data on placements obtained by The Hindu shows.
Like most years, the headlines on the 2015-16 placement season at the IITs were captured by the minority of students who got crore-plus offers from companies including Google and Facebook. However, these headlines miss the reality of IIT placement offers, a range of official sources and students said.
The handful of students who get offers for jobs overseas which tip the payscales over Rs.1 crore — just five per cent of all placements last year at IIT Bombay for instance — skew the average IIT graduate’s starting salary, as do Computer Science graduates, placement officers at several IITs said. The median — which reflects what the average student is offered — is far more modest; Rs. 8.5 lakh at IITB in 2014-15 for instance, according to Rahul Soni, placement manager at IITB. Data for the 2015-16 season was not available as the process is ongoing.
At IIT Kanpur, the median salary in the Computer Science stream in 2014-15 was Rs. 18 lakh, while the median for aerospace and civil engineering was Rs. 8 lakh, internal documents of IITK’s placement office show. At IIT Madras, the median salary for B.Tech students placed in 2014-15 was Rs. 10 lakh.
Most of the crore-plus salaries reported by the media are simple conversions into Indian currency of placement offers made in U.S. dollars, placement officials said. Many, however, are keen to point out that this is an unfair metric. “Those [crore-plus] salaries are nothing special,” Brijesh Kumar, assistant professor at IIT Roorkee, told The Hindu. “Every engineer in these companies starts with those salaries when they work in California because the cost of living is so high over there. The crore-plus packages that the companies advertise include stock components payable over five years contingent upon the person working there for that many years,” he said.
Moreover, it is meaningless to convert these salaries to Indian rupees because if the income is in dollars, so are the taxes and expenses, Mr. Kumar said. “All it does is to create unnecessary stress for students and unrealistic expectations for the parents. I feel sorry for my students who are burdened by these unrealistic expectations of the society around them,” he said.
While most students at the IITs have a realistic idea by the time the placement season comes of what salary they should expect on graduating, some are demoralised by the ‘crore-plus headlines’, students say. “What it does is push you towards taking a job that might not even be in the area you have studied or your passion because you do not want to turn down the big sums,” a student at IITB who had not been placed in the pre-placement season said. “So the computer science guys turn to the tech majors and the rest feel like they should try and catch the investment banks and consulting firms,” he said. “While most students have realistic expectations, often there is pressure from parents who feel that they have to recoup their investment,” Yash Shahi, dual degree Electrical Engineering student at IIT Kanpur who got placed at Intel said.

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