The study claims that there are inherent “cultural issues,” and that many students are affected by the “glorification” of leadership roles and extracurricular activities. “Roughly 54.4% of students said that this culture had an impact on their placement decisions.
IIT Bombay Placement 2023: Researchers from the Centre for Policy Studies at IIT-Bombay found that between 2014 and 2018, more than 60% of IIT-Bombay graduates accepted positions in industries unrelated to their fields of study, with the exception of computer science and engineering (CSE) and electrical engineering (EE).
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Contrary to popular belief, increased pay “may not be the primary factor” influencing decisions, claims a study published in the journal Current Science. The research cites “other variables,” pointing to “cultural difficulties,” which cause students to place a greater emphasis on “extracurricular activities” than on their studies, leaving many of them “underprepared for core occupations requiring domain expertise.” It also lists “pressure to get placed as soon as possible” as a factor.
“This trend also raises the important question: why are we spending so much on engineering training that is ‘misallocated’ subsequently,” states the paper authored by Namit Agrawal, Sailakshmi Sreenath, Shishir K Jha and Anurag Mehra of the Centre for Policy Studies, IIT-Bombay.
The results of the five-year study are based on 2,109 students’ placement data. On the basis of the responses from 269 of these 2,109 students, the reasons for their decisions were determined.
For the purposes of the study, the authors of the paper define core jobs as positions that in some way relate to the student’s field of engineering. Therefore, any position that requires the domain knowledge taught in a given branch is regarded as “core” for that branch, regardless of the industry to which the company belongs. For the upkeep and maintenance of equipment, chemical industries also employ mechanical and electrical engineers. Therefore, even though these engineers work in the chemical industry, they still need to be knowledgeable in their respective fields, according to the paper.
The only disciplines where core jobs still predominate are computer science and engineering (CSE) and electrical engineering (EE), according to the study. In EE, 53.81% of student-chosen jobs were in core industries, compared to 82.71% in CSE.
According to the paper, CSE is unusual in many ways because it exists in “a world so dominated by computers and computing that a CSE graduate can fit into almost any sector.”
But in almost every other field, students chose non-core positions that had nothing to do with their field of study. With 87.04% of its graduates choosing non-core positions, Aerospace Engineering (AE) topped the list. It was followed by Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science (MEMS), Engineering Physics (EP), Civil Engineering (CE), Chemical Engineering (ChE), Mechanical Engineering (ME), and Engineering Physics (EP) in that order.
The study notes that there is a small difference in median salaries in different countries, indicating that students’ decision-making is not solely influenced by the allure of higher salaries.
The paper notes that “other factors are at play in deciding the core versus non-core choices,” adding that “contrary to popular belief, median salaries for core and non-core jobs were similar for most departments, except for Computer Science Engineering, Engineering Physics, and Civil Engineering.”
The study claims that there are inherent “cultural issues,” and that many students are affected by the “glorification” of leadership roles and extracurricular activities. “Roughly 54.4% of students said that this culture had an impact on their placement decisions… This exaltation encourages students to place more emphasis on extracurricular activities than on academics, which leaves many of them underqualified for core positions requiring domain knowledge, the report claims.