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Boom time for civil brigade

The boom in the construction and infrastructure sector has brought civil engineering back into the limelight, with students making a beeline for the course. Once overshadowed by sectors like information technology, the growing demand for civil engineers has opened up huge opportunities in this field.

“There has been an increase in the demand for civil engineering among students. In fact, this year the closing rank for civil engineering has gone up,” said an official of the civil engineering department of Bengal Engineering and Science University.

“The demand is going to go up by 30 per cent in the coming few years,” said Sushil Mohta, the managing director of Merlin Group.

Businesses in the building trade alone have grown 10 to 15 times in the last two years, adding to the growing demand for trained manpower. “Some IT companies also recruit candidates with civil background for projects that require domain-specific knowledge,” said Pradeep Chopra, a member of the governing body of the Bengal chapter of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai).

Jadavpur University (JU) has also seen a growth in the number of job offers for civil engineering students. “We have already placed 70 out of 100 students in just one month and we still have 11 months of placements to go,” said Siddhartha Bhattacharya, the chief officer of placement, JU.

The number of civil engineers being churned out is, however, far short of the demand. Industry insiders peg the present shortfall at around 50 per cent. “According to a survey, the current shortage of degree civil engineers stands at over 10,000,” said Mohta.

With over 30 per cent of civil engineering graduates being snapped up by IT companies, there is less manpower for the construction sector.

To attract more civil engineers, companies are now trying to match the pay packets offered by IT companies.

Professionals in the civil engineering sector can earn around Rs 5 lakh per year as beginners, which can go up to Rs 1 crore annually, depending upon performance and experience. Even a diploma holder in civil engineering can hope to begin with Rs 3 lakh annually.

“This sector has seen the highest salary hike so far, with companies giving almost 40 per cent hikes across the board year on year,” said Chopra.

Indian Oil, which recruited civil engineers from JU, offered over Rs 6 lakh per annum, double the amount being offered by IT companies.

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