Thursday, February 05, 2009

Where are the jobs?

More than 6 million Chinese students left university last year and up to a quarter are still struggling to find work.

Another six million will graduate this year and they're going to find it even tougher. Economic conditions are to blame, of course, but there is a more fundamental issue.

"The number of graduates increased too quickly - by 2006 there were already five times more than in 1999. The labour market can't take that big an increase in such a short time," said Professor Yang Dongping of the Beijing Institute of Technology, the author of a report on graduate employment.

China's successfully expanded higher education in recent years. Too successfully perhaps, says BBC News.

About 6% of the workforce has been to university, far fewer than in many developed countries, but there are still not yet enough high-end jobs for graduates to do here.

Higher expectations are clashing with the deteriorating economic reality, says the Guardian. I think much the same is happening in India.

We currently have 1600 engineering colleges and 1200 odd bschools - all of which churn out graduates suffering from expectation mismatch. In the boom period, even the third rung colleges would manage to attract some employers.

But in the slowdown, the creme de la creme itself appears to be gasping for air. Top bschools are sending out placement brochures to tiny firms. Alums are bemused,"Kya haalat itni buri hai?". Anecdotal evidence would suggest so (although a complete picture will only emerge by the end of next month).

"XYZ cola major came to campus and offered 3 lakhs per annum," says an agitated final year student at one of India's best known bschools. He can't imagine expecting *such* a low offer. It's an insult.

But what is low, really? A microfinance position has become a serious option at a top bschool. The job content is good and a paypacket of Rs 10 lakhs looks generous to me. Magar students cannot help recalling that the average last year was Rs 14 lakhs p.a.

"We realise salaries will be lower this year but still, it's hard to accept...!"

And more so, because you've shelled out fees ranging from Rs 6-11 lakhs and will soon have EMIs hanging over your head.

Luckily, we have the 'social security' of living with parents :)

But seriously, I'd like to hear from any of you guys out there graduating this year, what the mood on campus is like. More than hard statistics I want anecdotes, incidents, what junta is talking about.

How you and your batchmates are dealing with the situation, what are your hopes and dreams for the near future.

You can add your comments below, or if you'd like to remain anonymous, mail me at rashmi_b at The inputs you provide will be used by JAM magazine for an upcoming cover feature titled - you guessed it - 'Where are the jobs?'


  1. Not exactly what you are looking for.

    But, in interviews don't MBA aspirants say they want do an MBA to create employment ,help the country blah blah blah....So, now why would a Rs 4L dip in salary matter at all.

    From next time they should just say all I want is money, hence MBA.Instead of all those hypocritical answers.

  2. All that goes up has to come down.
    When a country experiences the growth rate that China has (in the last 25 years) or even what India has (Last 13 years - barring the 3 in between), people do not know what to expect when thigs go astray.
    Both countries could have only hoped for a soft landing - given what has happend in the last 2 decades. However - it was not meant to be that way.
    Given how multi-dimensional China's growth is in terms of industries it affects - they might be a little better positioned than India.
    India's graduate employment was essentially driven by IT / ITES sector (and mrginally by manufacturing). Given that - we might be in for a much harder landing in terms of graduate employment.
    However - in terms of actual growth rates of the economy, the story might be slightly different. Since China is almost entirely an export oriented economy, India might be a little better off than China when it comes to maintaining a reasonable growth rate. A growth rate of 6% would be good enough for India after 9% for the last 5 years.
    However, 8% might not be good enough for China given that they have consistently clocked 12+ in the recent past.
    For the B-School salaries, given that the P&G / HLL / Asian Paints salaries were at 1.5-2 lakh levels in 1991, inflation adjusted - they should be at 10-15 now I guess. 4 is still low but then beggers cant be choosers!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. well, many people today are worried more about the salary than the job content. why doesn't anybody realise that a good job will give a good salary once good times return? this happens because of social pressures. imagine constantly hearing from relatives, friends, near and dear ones that "you are in IIT/IIM. you will earn in crores." that affects the student sitting for placement. many people are not taking up jobs because they find the salary to be "less". very few people are looking at the company or the job content. only salary

  5. I am Avinash Agarwal, currently pursuing my CET,bhubaneswar. I am in my final year and has been placed with TCS. Talking about the mood in the campus one can definitely say everyone is Tensed. More than half of the batch mates sat for the MBA exams(including me) and most of them gave the Exams out of fear. Now that the results are out only few of the lot managed to get good calls. students from the core branch are now looking to go for the PSUs and the rest are hoping for things to get better. As for me I am in total dire state with pressure coming from all corners.The thing which worries me most these days is that nobody is doing anything to get out of the situation and the way we are about to complete our graduation the future looks grim. I mean to say that the job created by the IT companies and their recruitment drive in the third year itself made us so complacent that we feel so unskilled in our respective field and now we dont have other options than go for MBA.

  6. I would like to suggest a course of action.

    Give the same profile as usual, give the same salary as someone else doing the same job in that company. To cut costs, cut average variable pay or, possibly even try a 10% pay cut across the board for professionals in the company. This would remove the luck factor that screws many recession-batch passouts.
    (Greater portion of hit from recession should be taken by investors... remember this is the risk you claim to charge returns for! We are salaried because we are risk averse.)

    Now, I might sound greedy. But, its fair to a greater extent than you might think at first.

    Temporary slumps in demand should be tackled by pay cuts. Permanent reduction in demand (like that for analog cameras these days) should be tackled by job cuts and production cuts.

    Of course the real world is more complex and solutions lie in a (healthy?) mix of both solutions.

  7. Thats true.. situation sucks big time the placement in my college 2 years ago was 100%.. this year its 45% and the average is somethin arnd 3.5-4L.. but having said that there are some smart a**es who're making big bucks in these harsh economic times
    Check out this link

    Recession does bring in opportunity and this guy has proved it

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. well i would say don't be so pessimistic . A similar kind of crunch came in s/w industry in 2001. But two yrs hence, it was a boom.

    see, life always tries for equilibrium. It wishes to follow the curve y=0 (NOT x=0) but in reality follows curves like sin(x) types.
    currently there is a recession, but 2 yrs hence, u will market going up...more projects in the market...

    lets be more optimistic

  10. Anonymous9:15 AM

    I am Vamsi Krishna from Visakhapatnam. I have completed my graduation in polymer science and rubber technology( which being a supplier to the automobile industry) from a college in kerala. I graduated in the month October 2008 and still without a job. We were actually recruited by a tyre major and had to hear a blank NO from them when it came to giving an offer to us. This has been the situation for almost whole off our batch and all of us are on the road to a utopian search for jobs. All praise go to the current financial situation of the companies.

  11. Hey. has been reported as an unsafe site on google search, you might want to take a look into it soon.

  12. Hyderabad is one of the main IT hub, and today it said in the local papers that even the top graduates are going to have a tough time. Sameer, i really appreciate your opinion..

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  13. The Present Job Market is down and even the most prosperous is not getting the proper respose, already there are layoffs. BPO work from home

  14. Nice One Ma'am.

    Jobs are really drying up!
    But what if in this recession,
    Al-Qaeda plans to hire???

    Read this.

  15. with current scenario and salaries very low i think oops is the way to go.......

  16. Anonymous9:16 PM

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  17. The ill-will of governmental control on education.
    Even Indian government is wasting tax-payers money and hence the potential of tax-payers to create jobs for the needies just to maintain the factory of literate jobless poor.

    Government interference in market never helps anybody!
    Education for All

  18. @ Sameer
    From next time they should just say all I want is money, hence MBA.Instead of all those hypocritical answers.

    One doesn't need MBA degrree for creating jobs, one need money/wealth/resources to create jobs, one needs removal taxes. One needs limited or NO government and governmental interference in Market.

    Anyways I am not an MBA, I am an architect and a constructor, I employ many needy workers, and I know if government stops interfering I will provide double the number of jobs I can provide right now.

    But do I create jobs for serving poor and nation?

    get a grip at your mad dreams. I work for my own and I provide options for others to work and earn honest money for their own.

    Altruism never helps, it is a paradox. What creates progress is productivity what reduces poverty is productivity and Taxes reduces that productivity and hence increase poverty holistically.

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. @unpretentious_diva

    u don't coz u read too much of ayn rand :) and not enough of other people. creating jobs doesn't require as much as u think it does. creating jobs has more to do with entrepreneurship than other things. ofcourse economics matter but so does the art of doing business by people who have passion (for watevr it is....,money, fame, watevr)

    ayn rand has won n lost.
    so has communism.
    so has capitalism.
    at different places in different junctures of time.

    today the nation that heralded ayn rand accepts it market economy (of america) is now being tightly leashed by the present day government there.

    every coin has two sides.
    ayn rand is on one.
    altruism is on the other (hopefully)
    and if it's not then i guess slumdog millionaire doesn't deserve the oscars :)

    and so do so many non-profit and philantropic organisations like (u knw better) amongst them organisation like BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION and people like WARREN BUFFET, who you should consider to be fools for what they are doing now.

    btw let's jus stop paying taxes and see if we get free education system, roads, electricity, food, i think even the governemnts should just start treating the people who elect them as commodities as sell products to them.....and then call it a truely capitalist nation...which only love the haves and exploits the have nots....

    (working for urself doesnt always mean only working for can also mean that u r working for urself and for others.....or shud v jus throw our parents out of the house as soon as they get retired as they are liability and not assets? in business terms)

    YUP.All they want is money.
    the most of them don't love the art of business they just love the money, which is really sad.
    and we are to blame for it too :)
    we are a part of the image that depicts IIMs/IITs=tons of money.
    there should be an entrepreneurial course for all IIMites and other B-schools in India, not a bunch of Institutions whose professors want to interview less students year after year.(aka IIM-A's new rule new call letter rule)

    IIMs were inducted to produce mangers and entrepreneurs for a developing India but what we have managed to make are just big white elephants who work to provide exceptional talent to bigger economies at the expense of the country which produces them.

    just ask yourself...
    how many Rashmi Bansals (or the entrepreneurs that she has written about in her book) have we created?
    that should be your answer.

    i will invoke and evoke one of rashmi bansal's writings on rediff that i had read. (and i will use it at my personal interviews when and where i get an earnest chance :) )

    the debate between the people of two divides:

    MBA nahin toh kuch nahin VS kuch nahi toh MBA :)

    which side are you on and why?

    the weird part...
    if you belong to the later half than you will be the one on the losing end. so will India.

    the truth is most engineers do engineering coz their mammy and daddy said so. neither do they love what they will be doing, as most of them don't know what it is and nor do they try and find out. they rather would just follow, dare I say, the maddening herd.

    this fact can be proven by the number of people who try all their hands at ALL ENTRANCE EXAMS available to them without bias. why? well the answer most probably will be "coz they can"
    The people who try their hand at medical entrances also try the same with engineering. there is good bit of overlap amongst the quagmired crowd.

    a psychometric test at all the entrance levels is highly important, otherwise we are just fitting round peg in square holes and hoping they will resize and reshape themselves automatically.

    (ok mayb i deviated a little from the topic, i am sorry :|)

    in the end i would just say in confucius's words "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life"

    please consider this :)

    (ok i would really love rashmi bansal to comment on this :D lol)

  21. this is just the tip of the iceberg...there are scores of students in the US who went for their MS and now with no jobs on the scene are returning back to pay the massive edu loan.
    If this continues then obv students will stop going for the MS option or only rich daddy kids will go....have seen people who even though have pretty much completed the minimum requirements for the MS are still stickin around the campus just in the hope that things will improve and taking more courses as a result of it.(even those courses which do not contribute to their majors in any way.)

  22. @K A Mazumdar

    Look at it this way. Only 20% of IIM guys go to foreign companies. What about the rest of the guys?

    Lets consider CAT. There are 10000 students scoring above 95%ile each year. Out of that 2000 go to IIMs. Of the 10000 only 400-500 go to foreign companies. There are 9500 awesome MBAs staying back in India!

    And there are more... scientists, IAS officers, statisticians, bachelors and masters in engineering, doctors, lawyers, artists (did u forget rehman?)... etc. etc...

    India is going to be a strong country with a strong domestic economy. And IIMs are definitely contributing a good share to India's growth.

    Indian youth is very passionate about the country... and they are making India proud. And IITians and IIM guys are also bang in the center of the transformation. But, can you expect them to be saints?

  23. @everyone : round pegs square holes :|

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