Placements of PhD students at IITs on the rise

Placements of PhD students at IITs on the rise

There is a rise in the placements of Ph.D. students at the Indian Institutes of Technology even as the number of doctoral degrees in these premier institutions surges. Ph.D. scholars from these institutes have been landing jobs with universities, in research & development and in software and core engineering roles even with the inherent challenges. 


Recruiters absorbing IIT Ph.D. students include Manipal Academy of Higher Education (formerly Manipal University), SRM University, Sandeep University, MathWorks and Taiwan Semiconductor.


However, unlike the rush during undergraduate placements, many companies give Ph.D. recruitments a miss because of the lack of specialized roles, the institutes said.


Many Ph.D. graduates thus look for jobs on their own off-campus while a growing number also goes abroad for post-doctoral stints to land faculty positions at top-tier institutes once they return.


Still, placements are looking up, said the top IITs. At IIT Kharagpur, the number has already crossed 22 for the 2018-19 session compared with 12 Ph.D. students during campus placements in 2017-18.


“Unlike last year, when all students were absorbed in teaching roles, this year six have been placed incorporates, including two in PSUs,” said Raja Sekhar, chairman of the Career Development Centre. The average salary offered was Rs 9.23 lakh per annum.


Barely 20% of the Ph.D. students register for campus placements, said Manu Santhanam, advisor, training & placement, at IIT Madras.


“Most of our students would like to work in top IITs and NITs. But because of increasing competition, as much as 50-60% of the batch end up seeking out post-doc positions in Europe and the US since that gives them an edge. Corporates are not creating enough positions challenging enough for PhDs,” said Santhanam.


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At IIT Bombay, core engineering/IT software and analytics firms and universities have been recruiting PhDs. “Out of all the Ph.D. students passing out, not all register for placements since they use their own contacts to pursue jobs or post-doctorate studies. Many of these Ph.D. students have further educational plans,” said an IIT Bombay placement cell executive.


Manipal Academy of Higher Education will be recruiting in May-June and said it has already received over 65 applications from PhDs in leading IITs. The institute, which recruited five faculty members from the IITs last year, said such students are mostly taken onboard as assistant professors and some are hired as post-doctoral fellows.


“We have plans to step up the appointment of exceptional talent from premier institutes in India and abroad mainly because of the quality they bring in to the system with respect to academic and research output,” said deputy director HRD Jerry Joseph.


Newer IITs also see a jump


In 2018-19, 44 Ph.D. students at IIT Hyderabad registered for placements, a significant increase over last year. “Companies are showing renewed interest in hiring PhDs for research positions,” said Pradeep Yemula, faculty-in-charge of placements at the institute.


Mathworks and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company were among those that hired PhDs. “This year, artificial intelligence, data scientists and machine learning engineer profiles are popular,” said Yemula.


Graduates in material science and computer science, especially in machine learning, are more sought out due to rapid growth in these areas, said Varun Dutt, advisor of IIT Mandi’s career and placement cell.


The institute’s students have been absorbed in top universities/institutes in India and abroad, including Stanford University, Oxford University, and Carnegie Mellon University.


Santhanam confirmed there is a growing interest among companies in areas such as AI and machine learning. “Salaries at the high end could go up to Rs 25-30 lakh,” he said.


Courtesy: Economic Times


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