One in two newly minted engineers of Classes of 2021 and 2022 is quitting or likely to quit even before completing their first work anniversary for a more lucrative offer or for an MBA degree, as per a recent survey by Deloitte.
Attrition among BE/BTech graduates in 2022 is higher than other degree holders including bachelors and masters of business administration, pharmacy, engineering and technology, according to the Deloitte Campus Workforce Trends survey shared exclusively with ET.
Attrition of BE/BTech in the first work year is up by 1.4x in 2022 against 2021, said Neelesh Gupta, director at Deloitte India.
Demand for niche tech skills is touching new heights. According to the survey, young premium tech talent with skills like AI, big data, analytics, etc. easily command a premium of 1.3x of median sectoral pay.
Fresh engineers are in demand across sectors, led by IT, ecommerce, unicorns and startups.
"Early stage startups have a particularly strong bias for young engineers and this is one of the drivers of attrition in campus hires," said TN Hari, chief HR officer of Bigbasket.
The Tatas-controlled online grocer is among a growing number of regular campus recruiters taking measures to check attrition levels.
An atmosphere of trust, freedom and flexi-work is important for retention apart from offering a workplace where they can learn, collaborate, innovate, grow and do what they do best every day, Hari said.
Consulting multinational BCG, too, has lined up a slew of initiatives and has managed attrition at the same level as last few years, especially at entry level.
"We have also strengthened our flexible work model offering to ensure flexibility to manage remote/hybrid work models," said Suresh Subudhi, head, India people team, at BCG.
Other interventions at BCG include learning and development in the first year (feedback foundation), helping young talent to chart out his/her own career path, robust apprenticeship, and mentorship programmes.
According to the Deloitte survey, salary remains the biggest motivator for young graduates and postgraduates, followed by job security. Organisations are obliging. Salaries for MBAs have grown by 18% to 24% compared to pre-pandemic levels while the range is 24% to 32% for BTech, according to the report.
"An engineer with a management degree is more likely to possess superior data analysis skills, though with rise in the complexity of situations, industry will need people with skills (such as) emotional intelligence and conflict management," said Himanshu Rai, director at IIM Indore. According to Rai, salaries offered to students at the institute are consistently increasing.
IIT Roorkee professor-in-charge of placement and internship Vinay Sharma said the percentage change in the rise of the salaries in terms of average and median this year is more compared to past years. Firms are now exploring campus talent beyond the top colleges and are conducting functional skills-based tests to hire campus talent.
"This gives them access to a wider talent pool as well as provides opportunities to candidates beyond those visiting their campuses," said Gupta of Deloitte. For a long time, MBAs have commanded a significant pay premium compared to technical talent. But with the recent demand for tech skills, 2022 has become a 'boom' year for technical talent, Gupta said.
This is Deloitte's second annual Campus Workforce Trends survey that covered more than 150 organisations across industries and over 250 campuses.