Do Not Let Startups and Ecommerce Firms Play With Students' CareersStudents in their last semester are full of dreams. The ones with an entrepreneurial bent of mind are occupied with fine tuning their projects and business models. The ones who wish to join a corporate prepare for interviews to get a job and fulfill all that they had promised themselves and what their family, relatives and friends expect from them. In that sense, campus placements have a huge place in the psyche of these students. If these placements are at premier institutions like the IITs & the IIMs, the buzz is all-pervading and the pressure unbearable. Just think then what happens when the companies who give them appointment letters renege on their offers. This is what is happening for the last two years when several startups and ecommerce firms had fully or partially reneged on offers made to students during campus placements, after first enticing them with fancy salaries. Rather like dhobi ka gadha, na ghar ka na ghat ka these students were left high and dry as most other companies had fulfilled their requirements of students matching their profile at campus placements. No good jobs were forthcoming and these students faced very tough times. Those who had taken educational loans (and a majority were in that category) faced additional pressure.
By Sunil Garodia
Hence, the IITs have decided to bar nearly 20 startups and ecommerce firms from attending campus placements this year. At the All-IITs Placement Committee meeting to discuss placements for 2017, those firms that flouted placement rules in the preceding years were placed under three categories those who deferred the joining date, those who reduced emoluments or changed job profiles and those who completely withdrew offers. Companies in the last category will be completely banned (with restaurant review and food order firm Zomato being banned for the second successive year), while firms in the other two categories will be issued warning letters. Indian ecommerce poster boy Flipkart will also receive a warning letter for deferring offers last year.
While this is in perfect order, the placement committee should also keep a watch over companies that are frequently laying off employees on one pretext or other although the need arises mostly due to their own mismanagement and faulty business models. These companies did not adhere to prudent hiring policies and took in more than required. Now they are shedding flab to cut costs. But this has an adverse impact on student careers and the placement cells of all institutes should monitor such activities in companies that hire in their campus placements. It is often seen that these companies suddenly raise the performance bar required of employees in order to force them to leave or dismiss them. This is an unethical HR practice and should be monitored by placement cells.
Students who join a company after rigorous study and internship in institutes such as IITs and IIMs are job ready. Till the startups and ecommerce firms vitiated the atmosphere in the last few years, the placement cells had been working with clockwork precision over the years, with only the stray hiccup. But now all kinds of excuses are being indulged into by these companies to spoil students careers. The stand taken by the IITs should be replicated in all institutes where these companies go for hiring. Only then will they resort to healthy HR practices and refrain from playing truant with students careers.