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India – A positive hiring season

15 February 2013

A fresh hiring season has begun, but so far those passing out of leading management and engineering institutes have had little reason to worry. The prolonged slowdown has not, overall, curbed employers' enthusiasm for campus recruitment nor reduced starting salaries, shows human resource (HR) firm Aon Hewitt's Campus Compensation Study 2012/13 reported in Business Today

 Examining hiring trends at 173 companies, the study found that around 70 per cent of them had not revised their hiring intent for 2013 in any manner. Business Today's discussions with students and recruiting companies reinforce the study's broad findings. "This year we have more students per batch than before. Yet we are getting average offers in the range of Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh per annum," says Pragya Chordia, a post graduate student in Applied Mathematics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, and a member of the placement team on her campus.

Business schools are equally upbeat. "We find a 20 per cent increase this year in the number of first time recruiters from our campus this year," says Anubhav Jain, a member of the placement committee at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow. "First time visitors included company representatives from West Asia, East Africa and Southeast Asia."

The overall optimism, however, should not airbrush away the fact that 30 per cent of the companies surveyed by Aon Hewitt did acknowledge a downward revision of hiring plans and offer salaries. "While most organisations did not report a cut in total fixed compensation, there were a few which did report a decrease in the target variable pay for 2013," it says. Most of these, significantly, were from either the financial services or the information technology sectors.

 Another interesting trend this year is an added emphasis on hiring people with work experience, and women. "Our focus is to hire 50 per cent women," says Ashok Ramchandran, Director, HR, Vodafone India. So too, the Aon Hewitt report shows 33 per cent of companies surveyed hired students with at least two to four years of work experience. "This time we went for people with experience, looking for talent with more than two years and up to a maximum of eight years of experience," says Preeti Kaul, Senior General Manager, HR, at global BPO firm, WNS.

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