Graduating to unemployment
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Fresh graduates bear the brunt of the slowdown as Indian firms apply the brakes on hiring.
They are bright young men and women who gave college their best shot and were eager to start work. As they entered the final year of their courses in the summer of 2011, the Indian economy was among the few in the world that still had a growth rate worth talking about and there was hope on the horizon.
A year on, that hope has turned into despair.
The graduates of 2012, from across disciplines and cities, are instead facing conservative and uncertain hiring plans, fewer job offers per company, a dip in average salaries and even a postponement of their date of joining.
While the exact number of the fresh graduates waiting for employment is hard to come by in the absence of a central agency to track such trends, a common line of disappointment runs through Lucknow to Pune, and through Chandigarh to Bhubaneswar.
Mayank Raj, who completed his MBA in finance from Lucknow University this year, was interested in a career in banking. But the 24-year-old is now struggling to find any job in the finance sector. Desperate to be employed before his father retires next year, Mayank says he has now begun to apply for research and analysis jobs in security firms.
"Until last year, we had a number of banks and finance companies coming in for placements. But this year, the openings are fewer in number. Those offering jobs do not offer good packages," said Mayank, who is still hopeful of shifting to mainstream banking "next year once the market looks up".
* Lalit Pradhan's family thought he would land a job in a top IT company such as Infosys after his B Tech from a Bhubaneswar college. His father had sold a piece of land to fund his studies. Desperate not to remain unemployed for too long, Pradhan has switched his career options and joined a banking coaching class.