Foreign universities that would come scouting for young teachers to the Indian Institutes of Technology were conspicuously missing this recruitment season. But a range of private and deemed Indian universities from across the country did land up offering hardly attractive pay scales defined under the Sixth Pay Commission.
When they were pitted against the big guns-the consulting and finance offers-the IITs realized that the PhD jinx continues to haunt them. Every tech school recorded a higher average salary figure for their BTechs as compared to their PhD fellows, most of who joined research labs or signed up for teaching positions.
"It's a trend that continues. The average salary on campus is Rs 7 lakh, but the average salary for PhD candidates is less than that of the BTechs," said an IIT Bombay official. The scenario is same on every campus. The slump in the average salary for PhDs also aggravated as universities from West Asia that came shopping for faculty did not turn up this year.
In the last two years, Alfaisal University, Saudi Arabia (which offered an annual compensation to the tune of Rs 19 lakh apart from housing and other facilities), Texas A&M University, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, were among the education providers that visited IITs and paid salaries comparable to industry. This year, most IITs saw a desi crowd as institutes like ICFAI, SRM University, Tamil Nadu; Saroj Education Group, Lovely Professional University, Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge, Vigyan University, K L University and Manipal University took a handful of students.
Every IIT saw a fall in students signing up for teaching posts. At IIT-Kanpur, 45 students joined educational institutes last year; this time around the number stood at 32, said Ramkumar Janakarajan, placement head. Annual compensation remained almost the same as last year. Most of the universities offered between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh a year.
IIT-Kharagpur's placement head S K Srivastava said 67 master's students and 15 PhD candidates took up teaching jobs this year. "The number was higher last year when more educational institutes had visited the campus." But several research firms, Srivastava added, had offered better salaries to PhD students this year.
IIT-Delhi's placement head Kushal Sen said it probably wasn't correct to compare the salaries of BTechs, MTechs and PhDs as they all took up varied job profiles.
"The salary that an MTech student gets from a core engineering firm cannot match the package that a consulting firm would offer a BTech."
Sure, but the placements again drove home the point that the BTechs at IITs managed to grab the best deals. In 2005-06, Rangan Banerjee and Vinayak Muley, in their report on engineering education in India had mentioned this irony that exists only on Indian campuses.
"The average MTech and PhD salary is lower than the average BTech salary in India. But the ratio of average starting salary of graduates to masters and doctorates for MIT, USA and University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, USA shows that the average masters' salary is 22-26% higher than the bachelors'; the doctorates' salary is 45-58% higher than the bachelors'."