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Look ‘out’ for a job

Mamata Banerjee’s Bengal doesn’t have jobs for young, bright engineers who want to stay back and arrest the brain drain, says data available with the placement cells of two top engineering colleges.

Bengal losing its best brains to better opportunities outside is not a new trend, but the drought of jobs for the bright sparks opting for employment at home contradicts the government’s talk of an industrial resurgence.

“Only 15 per cent of the students of our institute who had opted for jobs within Bengal this year have found employment. The percentage was never so low,” an official at Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) said.

Placement records of the Class of 2013 at Jadavpur University show Besu isn’t an isolated case. Academicians say it doesn’t make sense to ask students of the top institutes not to leave their home state without creating opportunities for them.

“Students should not be encouraged to stay back in Bengal (in the present scenario)…. Such a tendency may affect their prospects of getting exposure to national and international job markets,” said Manas Sanyal, placement officer at Besu.

While many engineering graduates reluctantly venture out of the state to find jobs that do justice to their capabilities, the dwindling of opportunities for them on home turf has Bengal watchers more worried than ever before.

“Employment for professionals trained in technology is the key indicator of growth of industrial activity in a state,” said a JU professor. “So a decline in the availability of such jobs for a ready pool of candidates is self-explanatory.”

In almost all engineering colleges of the state, students appear for campus interviews in their third year. The process, handled by the placement cells of their institutes, requires the students to name three cities where they would like to work.

Placement records of JU and Besu show that around 40 per cent of students from the past three batches had ranked Calcutta their first choice.

But did the majority of them get what they wanted? “On an average, we have seen 25 to 30 per cent of the students opting for a posting in the home state getting a job. But the latest data shows that little more than 15 per cent of students who wanted a posting in Bengal got a job within the state,” a JU official said.

Besides the IT powerhouses like IBM, TCS and Cognizant, the companies that have been recruiting engineering graduates for Calcutta include construction major Shapoorji Pallonji, private power utility CESC, global bank HSBC and consulting firms such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte.

But several of these companies have apparently cut down on their intake for operations in Bengal.

While the IT companies are lowering their headcount because of global factors, the other recruiters that pick students from core engineering streams like civil and mechanical are slashing hiring targets because of lack of industrial growth in Bengal, sources said.

“Securing a job in Bengal in any core engineering area has become a distant dream for fresh graduates,” said Tarun Naskar, who teaches mechanical engineering at JU.

Besu vice-chancellor Ajoy Ray confirmed that the majority of those from his institute who sat for campus interviews this year had been offered jobs outside Bengal. “And our placement record is much better than some other institutes,” he added.

Even the polytechnic institutes that feed the local manpower requirements of companies haven’t been able to buck the trend.

More than 70 per cent of the current batch at Ramakrishna Mission Shilpa Mandira have been offered jobs outside Bengal.“Until two years ago, only around 40 per cent of our students needed to move outside Bengal. This time, nearly 70 per cent of our students have had to accept jobs outside the state,” an official at the institute said.

Calcutta is the first preference of nearly 95 per cent of the students at Ramakrishna Mission Shilpa Mandira, according to placement data.

Who/what do you blame for the decline in job opportunities for engineers within Bengal? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com