While there were not much career options in the past other than government jobs, this year’s placement plan at the IITs shows that the pre-liberalisation days might as well have been resurrected. With India’s top engineering and management colleges growing leery of start-ups—after a few of them reneged on job offers to students—it is not surprising that graduates from even these elite institutes are vying for positions at established enterprises in the government sector. A report by The Economic Times highlights that IIT-ians may have become more risk-averse—perhaps believing that the global slowdown will bog down the start-up ecosystem. The report points out that IITs are keen to give PSUs the pride of place this placement season despite the firms offering much smaller salaries. Although, PSUs had always been a part of the campus placements at IITs, the Madras High Court had barred them from recruiting from the IITs and IIMs in 2014 , before staying the ban December last year. Even so, since the past few years, PSUs would normally hire at the end of the placement season.
Though PSUs do offer job security, which is a growing concern when start-ups are struggling for funding—VCCEdge data shows that PE investments dropped almost 50% in the first six months of 2016—the students will also have to adjust to the new idea of startups not being the high paymasters they once were. A start-up, by definition, is a place where people join because they’re excited by a new idea, the possibility of coming up with innovative solutions and gives them the kind of learning no other organisation can. While PSUs would certainly gain from the entry of rich talent, the risk averse appetite would hinder the growth of the start-ups in the country.