‘Campus placements may reduce but internship stipends, salaries will rise’: TeamLease VP

Job Placement: Recruiters are also hiring from tier-2, 3 colleges and paying higher stipends to interns, said VP, TeamLease Degree-Apprenticeships.

Campus hiring teams are turning towards universities and colleges in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. (Photo: Dhriti Prasanna Mahanta, VP, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship)Campus hiring teams are turning towards universities and colleges in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. (Photo: Dhriti Prasanna Mahanta, VP, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship)

R. Radhika | June 29, 2023 | 10:22 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The global job market is witnessing a downturn with hiring freeze and mass layoffs. The current 2023 data from Layoffs.fyi shows that over two lakh employees have been laid off across tech giants like Amazon, Meta, Apple and Microsoft. The economic slowdown, a 2023 report by the International Labor Organisation observed, is likely to force more workers to accept poorly-paid jobs. Dhriti Prasanna Mahanta, vice president, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship, said the present challenge is to upgrade higher education learning through credit-based apprenticeships. In a conversation with Careers360, Mahanta spoke about the barriers in campus job placements, rising salaries in internships and more.

Q The delayed onboarding has caused a mismatch to occur in job markets. How does it impact freshers joining the workforce?

A. When we talk about delayed joining after giving offer letters, it is specific to a few IT companies where tech profiles are seeing a delay in onboarding people who get selected. Also, this delay is basically specific to a few companies, not even the complete ecosystem of IT. Nevertheless, these are six-seven big companies with global presence. These firms’ combined intake is much more than the rest of IT and IT services.

The delay is basically because of an overestimation of required manpower and projects being put on hold. This [trend] is going to be there for the next one or two years. I think in the next two years, you will see campus hiring reducing but the onboarding will be around 80 to 85 percent.

Also Read| BTech Placements: How mass tech layoff has put fresher jobs at risk

Q Are you saying campus hiring might take a hit?

A. Yes, I believe campus placements will reduce for certain profiles. I think, with new technologies coming in, there will be a requirement for new job roles. This will lead to the reduction in existing job roles where firms rely on placement hiring. Overall, there may be a dip in freshers hiring for specific job roles but the salaries may see a rise. This is not just for premier colleges but also tier-two or tier-three colleges. The impact, however, may be more visible in tier-one colleges.

Q Is the slowdown affecting internships?

A. No, internships will not be impacted. Today, organisations need people who have the understanding of the vocational skill, so they are keen on taking people as interns or apprentices. However, organisations that are traditional and do not have new job roles may not offer as many opportunities.

Also, productivity plays an important role. Companies have realised that the productivity of an intern during the internship period is much more compared to a fresher joining as an employee. The high productivity can be because of flexibility of hours, flexible projects and other such factors. But because of the higher productivity the companies are willing to pay higher stipends compared to salary for the freshers.

Q What are the employability challenges?

A. If you see any industry today, there are two-to-three growth enabling technologies like artificial intelligence and Web 3.0 that play a very important role and not in a particular industry but across industries. These are also technologies that are a source of cost reduction for any employer. Irrespective of the industry, every employer is looking for skills in machine learning, AI, Web 3.0.

Today, a lot of campus-to-corporate connection programmes, which are embedded in their regular curricula, are essentially helping them become more employable in coming times. Although there are courses offered by universities with industry partners to bridge the skill gap, the requirement for such skills is also huge. Therefore, it will take time for the universities and industry to meet the demand.

Q Apart from IT, which other areas are looking for skills in disruptive technologies?

A. If you talk about even warehouses in the retail sector, they are all moving to online mode. They have huge warehouses where AI plays a very important role in terms of segregation, delivery, timeline or even the apps. Most shopping apps are AI-based.

People who understand the technology and can implement it efficiently are in demand so that the output in apps or even warehouse management improves. Similarly, Web 3.0 is also a game changer in retail. Sales is another lucrative option because you get a lot of incentives. A lot of BCom graduates today look for sales jobs in electronics, selling appliances.

Q During the pandemic a lot of tier-2, tier 3 colleges recorded good placements. Has it changed now?

A. No, I don't think so. Several organisations are also moving to tier-two and tier-three cities. Even large IT services companies today are moving to such cities because they find most employees joining from there. For instance, if an organisation offers 100 roles to students of a university in Bangalore and 100 to university students in Belgaum, Belgaum will have 90 percent joining whereas only 40 percent will join from Bangalore.

There's always a competition in terms of the payout. So, a lot of recruiters or campus hiring teams are actually turning towards universities and colleges in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Other factors are also in play. Firstly, it is where their business is moving and secondly, people are ready to relocate to metros so that they find a better livelihood and a better career.

Q The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 talks about raising employability standards while studying in higher educational institutions. What according to you are the essential measures that could help universities achieve that?

A. The NEP 2020 talks about credit-based learning. I think for universities that is going to be the way forward. If you can structure your courses in a credit-based framework, which has been approved by the University Grants Commission, it gives a lot of industry exposure. We are talking about the skill gap because our education system is limited to learning within the university and not outside it. It has to change.

For instance, a BCom student should get 70 percent of his learning in theory and 30% should be on-the-job training. To get 30 percent of the credits, students must go to the industry, understand the skill and become more employable.

Q What are degree apprenticeship programmes and how can they help?

A. In India, we have two kinds of apprenticeship programmes – regular with no degree and degree apprenticeship. [In the second,] university learning is embedded. A Class 12 graduate or a diploma holder, instead of going to a campus can do an apprenticeship for three years where they can get on-the-job training (OJT) along with a degree from the university. After three years, the student will be a degree apprentice with understanding of the skills which are required for a particular industry. Plus you get a degree which is a valid degree from the university under UGC. All the apprenticeship degree programmes are credit-based because the moment you embed OJT with learning, it needs to be credit based. Teamlease has its own degree apprenticeship programme.

Currently we have around 60,000 people who are pursuing their degree and diploma programmes along with on-the-job training. In the past decade, we have certified more than 4 lakh trainees and apprentices and 80 percent of them have got placements in the same company where they've done their apprenticeship. The programme has been approved by the NCVT [National Council for Vocational Training] as well as the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship.

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