For long, the General Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) has been considered one of the toughest to crack in India. Every year, this engineering exam sees thousands of students putting their knowledge of science and engineering-based undergraduate subjects to test. The score has assumed even greater significance in today’s times.
While it continues to decide if a student will get admission into a reputed college’s postgraduate course, it has recently even become a marker to determine if one is eligible to apply for a job in certain public sector undertakings (PSUs).
This trend attaches greater gravity to GATE scores, making it imperative that an aspirant who hopes to take up a position in a reputed PSU has the numbers to prove her mettle. If statistics are to be believed, the percentage increase in the enterprises using GATE as the screening method has gone up from a meagre 4% in 2012 to 29% in 2015. The year 2016 is expected to witness a 35% rise. With names such as BHEL, NHPC, GAIL, MDL, IOCL, ONGC, HPCL, PowerGrid and NTPC already joining the ranks with several others, the future clearly hinges on GATE performance cards. Along with these new entrants who plan to renew their hiring policies based on GATE 2016, there is an exhaustive list of PSUs including DRDO, BARC, BNPM, Coal India, NFL, NLC, L&T Build India Scholarship, NALCO, NHAI and others who are already effectively using this strategy.
The reasons for this decision are aplenty. To begin with, the employer has a wider selection of talent pool to hire from. With almost 10 lakh aspirants appearing for the engineering exam every year, those who make the cut can be easily determined and contacted to fill vacancies. Since this exam continues to be one of the toughest in the country, it ensures that PSU employers get the top ranked students.
In addition, by using GATE scores, a PSU can cut huge costs while hiring new candidates. The investment in advertising for vacancies, employing manpower/agency to reach out to potential candidates, getting them to appear for a test, evaluating their performance, and then making the final offer is often a tedious and long-drawn process. By simply creating a cut-off limit for GATE scores, a company can invite only those candidates who make the benchmark without wasting time on those who don’t fit the bill.
Relying on GATE scores can also reduce the instances of human error while short-listing the final candidate. It brings fairness into the hiring process by creating a common platform against which each student’s knowledge of engineering concepts and general aptitude can be analysed. The level of credibility associated with the GATE online exam also makes it immensely trustworthy. PSUs hiring on the basis of the results can be sure of the candidate’s adept analytical and sound decision-making skills. The examination process, over the years, has been transparent, and the fact that it’s conducted by IITs lends it that unquestionable authority.
With this precedent now set by some well-known PSUs, experts predict that the trend might have a ripple effect in the near future. Since its efficacy is testified by the IITs and top PSUs, the time is not far when most private organisations might follow suit.
For GATE aspirants, this means a dual incentive. With this new development, students can now kill two birds with one arrow. A good score will open two equally promising and lucrative options in front of them—a post-graduation or a job with a reputed PSU.
By Nitin Rakesh Prasad
The author is co-founder, The GATE Academy