University News

CareerLAB sees rise in undergrad job postings

Michigan State study projects about 97 percent of employers will hire 2015 graduates

Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

As a recent national study predicts that job opportunities for the graduating class of 2015 will increase by 16 percent, CareerLAB has seen signs of a strong hiring cycle for Brown seniors, administrators said.

There have been more job postings on the Job and Internship Board and more technology companies recruiting on campus this year than in previous years, said Jim Amspacher, interim director of CareerLAB.

A study released earlier this month by Michigan State University researchers found that employers are looking for more recent college graduates. Eighty-four percent of employers hired at least one recent graduate in the 2013-2014 academic year, while 97 percent of employers are expected to do so this academic year, according to the study, which surveyed 5,700 employers across different sectors.

While the study focused on bachelor’s degree recipients, its implications are more widespread and could affect students pursuing other degrees. Forty percent of employers seeking candidates with master’s degrees and PhDs will also increase their hiring of recent graduates this year, according to the study.

Amspacher said he thinks the surge of tech employers on campus this year is consistent with the study’s finding that hiring in the information services sector is reporting 51 percent growth from 2013-14 — higher than industries such as finance and insurance, which are seeing only 31 percent growth.

The study indicated that growth was an important aspect in hiring for 66 percent of employers. “Companies cannot grow further without hiring more people,” said Philip Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. Turnover is also a significant factor in this growth, because as employees change jobs they open up positions for recent graduates, Gardner said.

Though the results of the study are promising, CareerLAB is “always optimistic about the prospects of Brown graduates” because the school has had a strong record of employment in the past, Amspacher said. Sixty-five percent of the class of 2013 reported being employed last spring, while 22 percent indicated they were pursuing graduate and professional studies and 6 percent indicated they were seeking employment, he said, citing data from BrownConnect. These results have remained relatively stable for the past five years, he added.

“But good or bad news does not change student behavior,” Gardner said, noting that many current seniors will likely wait until the last minute to prepare for entering the job market. Despite the increase in job prospects, seniors  who start searching for employment after spring break this year will find it challenging to secure a job, he said. “Even though the needle is swung in favor of the student, this isn’t a free pass,” he added.

The surveyed employers indicated they have seen this lack of preparation from many students with “lackluster resumes and slipshod cover letters,” according to the study. The employers also reported that many of these students had naive expectations about starting salaries and working conditions.

University career centers such as CareerLAB should form relationships and help students connect with a wide range of employers, especially alums, Gardner said.

CareerLAB can help students navigate the process of “targeting their employers and telling their story through application materials,” Amspacher said. CareerLAB urges students to take advantage of this increase in employer demand, he added.

Though the study is reason for the class of 2015 to rejoice, Gardner said, it is unclear if this year is an indicator of strong future job growth or simply a one-time occurrence.

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