E-commerce no longer seems to be the flavour of the season with the fresh graduates from top business schools across the country, says a study conducted by market research firm Nielsen, titled Campus Track Business School Survey 2016.
The study, which measures and monitors attitudes and perceptions of about 1,400 students across top 36 business schools (every year) with respect to their career preferences and potential recruiters, ranked e-commerce as the fourth most-preferred sector (down from first in the previous two years) by the students graduating in 2017. The business schools surveyed include Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, and Indian School of Business (Hyderabad) among others.
Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) emerged as the most preferred sector for the class of 2017, followed by fastmoving consumer goods (FMCG) sector and management consultancies. As per the study, 46% of the students said that they would prefer to work in the BFSI sector (up from 25% last year), while 42% said they preferred FMCG.
“Banking and financial services sector has always been seen as a secure and safe bet, albeit lacking the wow and glamour of the more new age sectors. The e-commerce industry has witnessed some volatility in the previous year, thus impacting the perception of students and appears to have lost some of its sheen,” said Ajay Macaden, executive director at Nielsen India.
The change in the preferences of the students (towards e-commerce) comes after certain companies, last year, deferred the joining dates for graduates to whom they had made job offers. For instance, India’s largest e-commerce platform Flipkart had deferred by six months the joining date for IIM graduates amid a funding crunch. Other start-ups like online baby clothes and products company Hopscotch, online auto classifieds portal CarDekho and local delivery start-up Roadrunnr had also delayed the joining dates of their hires, following which certain start-ups were blacklisted across all IITs in the placement season of 2016-17.
“Over the last couple of years, there have been instances where e-commerce companies had given out job offers and then taken them back. Recently, some large e-commerce firms have also announced the plans for downsizing. The craze for these new age companies has started to fade out a little,” said Rohin Kapoor, director at consulting firm Deloitte Haskins and Sells.
Meanwhile, students are seen going back to the “tried and tested” sectors like BFSI, FMCG, telecom and advertising, which are known to offer stability and job security (unlike e-commerce). Traditional sectors like telecom and advertising, this year, made it to Nielsen’s top 10 list after 2011 and 2014 respectively. The survey attributes this change to the new dynamics and new entrants in each of these sectors, leading to a “lot of noise”.
“Indian banking industry witnessed a rollout of innovative banking models like payments and small finance banks, creating a positive buzz. This year, we have also seen more positive momentum for this sector in the markets and growth prospects. Given the latest dynamics, new entrants, and lot of noise in the traditional sectors of telecom and advertising, we see a revival of these after 2011 and 2014, respectively, into the top 10,” said Macaden.
Over the last five years, packaged consumer goods company Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has been the dream employer as well as the top recruiter in all the 36 colleges, according to the Nielsen Campus Recruitment Index (CRI) 2016. In 2015-16 and 2016-17, tech giant Google was ranked second in the list of dream and top employers.
“This achievement is recognition by students of the consistent actions HUL has taken over the years to build mutually beneficial relationships and engagements with the student and academic community. With its robust talent systems and processes, HUL identifies talent early and invests in building capability. The UFLP (Unilever future leaders’ programme) provides young managerial recruits an extensive cross functional experience through live projects and learning assignments,” said BP Biddappa, executive director, human resources at HUL, adding that the firm provides rural and international exposure to its managerial recruits.
Other dream employers included private sector lender Axis Bank, consulting firms McKinsey and Co., and Boston Consulting Group, e-commerce giant Amazon and packaged consumer goods firm ITC Ltd, as per the study.