jobs: Top engineers in no hurry to accept every job offer


Even as lay-off jitters keep spreading across the Indian startup space and investment hits a road bump, candidates with high-end tech skills continue to shop for offers with placement companies still struggling with a low offer acceptance rate.

The average offer acceptance rate in skills such as full-stack engineers, data engineers, frontend engineers, SRE/DevOps, data scientists and backend engineers is just about 50%, as one out of two candidates trashes the offer letter, according to placement consultants.

Take the case of full-stack engineers, who design high-level software applications. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, the average offer acceptance rate of these professionals was 73%, which dropped to 53% in FY22 and is now around 50%, according to data from specialist staffing firm Xpheno. The trend cuts across profiles such as SRE/DevOps, data scientists, frontend engineers, data scientists and backend engineers, where the offer acceptance ratio has fallen from a high of 80% to 50%.

“The sustained positive hiring action from other cohorts of the tech sector continues to maintain a situation with more offers chasing lesser top talent,” said Anil Ethanur, cofounder, Xpheno. “The offer acceptance rates have not reached pre-pandemic levels and there’s quite a distance to cover to catch up,” he said.


“In top-level tech skills, candidates are still calling the shots. Out of every 100 offers rolled out, about 60 accept; of this only 35 join the new job,” said Anshuman Das, CEO of CareerNet and Longhouse Consulting. One of the major reasons for the high drop-out for these specialised technology roles is the fungibility of their skills. These people are in high demand across global captives, IT services, products, ITeS and consulting companies, job market experts said. “The demand-supply gulf remains high enough to give talent the upper hand on negotiations. This is evident with the low offer acceptance rates recorded across top skills for the key hiring sectors,” said Ethanur.

The funding freeze in the startup world has also not dented the packages offered to these profiles. New hires for these tech roles command packages that are often more than 100% of their current salary, according to data from Xpheno. Hike expectation of candidates has also risen with the increase in job opportunities in these areas. For instance, a full-stack engineer with experience of 4-7 years expects a salary jump of 70-120% from the current levels, higher than last year’s candidate expectation of 25-35%. The same applies for other specialised tech profiles.

Job market experts said the demand for niche tech skills will continue to remain high amid a shortage of supply, even as the number of open positions in companies is going down and companies are cutting down on counteroffers.

“It will become more about skill-based hiring and less about roles. Specialised technology professionals will continue to remain in high demand,” said Renee McGowan, president of the Asia, Middle East and Africa region at Mercer.


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