Reculta | Article 01

Higher Education in India – Placements is King!

Corporations, Governments, Businesses, or any organization for that matter always focus on some key metrics to drive growth and value for stakeholders. For corporations, these metrics could be profitability, revenue growth, customer retention, etc. For governments, these would be GDP growth, inflation, employment rates, etc.

When we talk about higher education institutions though, the focus in India seems to be on one key metric – placements. This metric though has not been ever-present. Using placements as a proxy for the quality of an institution is fairly recent. Some attribute this to the media hype towards pay checks landed by graduates out of premium institutions, starting early 2000s. Some may attribute this to the society we live in, with a high proportion of an aspirational middle class that grew up in the decades to economic liberalization.

All these causes apart, the fact stays that the placement outcome at any institution seems to drive its brand value among potential students and the society in general. And rightly so, institutions have been focussing a lot on placements. They take numerous steps to achieve a better placement outcome year on year – grooming students in soft skills, involving them in industry projects, providing leadership opportunities at a student level, etc.

Career Services Team – The Saviour of the Students!

This, however, is just one side of the coin. On the other side is each institute’s dedicated career services team working year around to ensure interest from reputed recruiters. And this is where institutes follow various approaches to entice recruiters to visit them for placements. Some of the common ways the pool of recruiters is formalized at an institute for any given academic year can be broken down as follows:

  • Discoverability – Still at a very basic level for most institutes, and majorly involves a dedicated page on their website which showcases the student profiles.
  • Relationships – Many institutes have long standing relationships with recruiters which come back to hire students year after year, having built trust in the quality of students.
  • Projects – Many institutes tie up with new recruiters for industry based short projects. This is done to showcase the quality of students, so that the recruiter can be engaged for placements.
  • Alumni – Institutes also have started keeping track of their alumni and use this network to approach new recruiters where an alumnus may have shifted his/ her career to.
  • Cold Pitching – Another very niche approach followed by some institutes which involves reaching out to potential recruiters directly, with no prior history of interaction.

Career Services Team – Bogged down by Operations!

All the activities listed above should ideally comprise a major chunk of time for a career services team, but there is a lot to be done internally as well. Most career services teams we surveyed across the country spend a significant amount of time in related but internal facing activities, such as:

  • Data Processing – Starting from collection and collation of student data to the final post placements reporting.
  • Events – All placement related events such as industry interactions, recruiter interactions, mock interviews, aptitude trainings, etc.
  • Organization – This includes arranging facilities during the placement drives, managing all the logistics, and keeping track of student activity during the placements.

Institutions – What can we do to improve placements!

Ideally, for any institute, the first five pointers listed above in terms of external engagements are where the time and effort of the career services team should be dedicated to improving placements. The next four points that cover internal facing actions are the ones that are more executional in nature and should be undertaken with a minimum requirement of time and effort.

Now an institution may look towards hiring more man power to manage all these activities effectively, but in a world increasingly moving towards automation and increasing productivity, what makes more sense? Hiring more manpower or making the work of the current manpower more automated and efficient?

Adopting the simple strategy of prioritizing the actions of the career services team can have a stark difference in the final placement outcome at the end of a year. To break it down simply, the strategy should be – maximize time investment in nurturing corporate relations, minimize time investment in executional activities!

I have the data, where are my insights?

Additionally, placement data year on year is collected in some excel file and then languishes in the hard drive of an office desktop. The most that comes out of it is – What was the sector-wise breakup of recruiters, what was the highest and the average salary offered, which were the highest paying recruiters?

Now, imagine the strategy that an institute could put in place if had access to a different sort of data:

  • which student profiles get which type of jobs?
  • what skills does a particular recruiter focus on?
  • which recruiters should a student apply to get a job matching his/ her skill sets?

We at Reculta understand this completely, owing to our team’s vast experience in the field of campus placements. To know how our product helps institutes channel their efforts towards minimizing their time investment in executional activities, while deriving insights to improve placements year on year, please click the link below to access a short case study that captures the benefits that Reculta brings forth.

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