Industry feedback has led Visvesvaraya Technological University to embark on a special placement drive for women graduates.
Gender diversity is a hot topic in corporate India. The media is abuzz with the need to recruit more women because they currently comprise only one-fourth to one-third of the corporate workforce. Recruiting women makes sense for other reasons too. They are very conscientious workers, for instance. “Industry feedback on our alumni performance suggests that women graduates perform better, are more consistent learners and faster learners, are more committed to deadlines, are less likely to leave the job, and are a better fit with corporate culture,” shares Dr H Maheshappa, Vice Chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belgaum. “Over time, our women alumni have proven themselves to be equal achievers with the same growth potential and skills as men,” adds the proud Vice Chancellor.
VTU has embarked on a unique initiative to drive women graduate placements by establishing an exclusive placement process for them. “We reckoned by doing so we would help corporations achieve their aim of gender diversity while also promoting opportunities for women,” says Dr Maheshappa.
Where are the women graduates?
In recent years, VTU’s placement cell has been registering higher (placement) selection ratios for women candidates than male candidates (10:24). “It became clear to us that companies are more interested in recruiting women,” says Dr Maheshappa. “At the same time, we recognized that a key challenge for recruiters was the absence of a large enough pool of qualified female candidates. Information technology and electronics companies especially visit campuses to recruit students in large numbers,” he adds.
A class apart
Here’s how VTU has gone about implementing the initiative:
Reaching Out: At the outset, VTU needed to establish partnerships with corporations willing to conduct placement drives exclusively for women graduates. Placement officers approached IBM and a few other information technology companies. “IBM accepted the idea whole-heartedly, seeing it as a means to provide equal opportunities to women. They have even agreed to execute unique women-run projects, for which they will recruit our graduates,” shares Dr Maheshappa.
Creating a Central Registry of Women Graduates: VTU, then, announced the initiative, and asked interested students to register themselves with its centralised placement cell. “As many as 5500 young women from over 80 affiliated colleges signed up for the exclusive placement drive,” says the Vice Chancellor.
Running a Pilot: A pilot run of the proposed mega exclusive placement drive was organized at Sahyadri College of Engineering & Management, Mangalore, an affiliate college. “Forty of 480 participating students got selected,” shares Dr Maheshappa. This event helped the organizing team figure out how best to organize the main event. “We realise the host college must have sufficient infrastructure such as labs, auditorium, interview rooms, technical rooms, rest room, canteen, Xerox support, etc.” he adds.
The Main Event: Between February 05 and 07, 2015, VTU arranged a placement drive at East West College of Engineering, Bengaluru, an affiliate college. It was a successful and well-organized event.
Harnessing women power
IBM invited 3454 students whose qualifications and registration were in order to take the online test. At the end of three rounds, it made 59 offers. “More students were from outside Bengaluru. We are happy to have helped many women from smaller towns across Karnataka find employment,” shares the Vice Chancellor. Now, VTU is stepping up discussions with corporations to identify more partners for such exclusive drives. “We are not forgetting our male students. All our regular placement drives are continuing as usual. We expect men to perform well at upcoming placement drives wherein Infosys, TCS, Tata Elxsi and other recruiters have confirmed participation,” adds Dr Maheshappa.
VTU Women Employment Initiative at a Glance
Who: Dr H Maheshappa Vice Chancellor, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belgaum
What: Has launched a special placement drive for women graduates.
When: Starting in 2015
Why: To help companies achieve their goal of gender diversity and to help women graduates find employment.
Where: Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum and its affiliated colleges
How: By tying up with MNC’s and creating a separate registry of potential recruits.