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Graduating seniors face unique employment challenges in uncertain economy
Graduating seniors face unique employment challenges in uncertain economyApril 28, 2009Daniel Klammdeklamm@syr.edu
With the economy in a state of uncertainty, graduating seniors face unique challenges as they seek employment. While members of the Class of 2008 were able to quickly and effectively secure jobs upon graduation, preliminary data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicates that organizations expect to hire 22 percent fewer new grads this year than in 2008. The data also shows that the average salary offer to a 2009 bachelor’s degree graduate is down 2.2 percent from 2008.
According to SU Career Services’ annual placement report of recent alumni (bachelor’s degree graduates), 94 percent of the Class of 2008 secured jobs or entered graduate study within six months of graduation. Approximately 18 percent of the Class of 2008 continued on to graduate school, while 76 percent obtained full-time employment. (These statistics represent the hiring outcomes of those students who responded to the survey, and do not reflect the entire Class of 2008.)
For those entering the workforce, the average starting salary was $42,400, a sizeable increase from previous years. Students obtained their positions through a combination of networking and applying directly to organizations (40 percent), previous internships (18 percent), the on-campus recruiting system (17 percent) and other means. Despite graduating during the beginning of the economic downturn, the Class of 2008 escaped relatively unscathed from job market woes.
The outlook for the Class of 2009 is markedly different. With organizations downsizing and employers cutting back on entry-level hires, the competition for jobs will be more intense than in the past.
“Despite the dismal economy, many organizations are still hiring,” says Mike Cahill, director of SU Career Services. “However, students will need to be at the top of their game, being very active and focused job seekers, in order to land these positions.”
SU Career Services has been helping students all semester to prepare for this particularly difficult job search season. The office extended its hours and provided special ongoing workshops, such as “Finding a Job in a Tough Economy,” “Resume Writing” and “Interviewing.” The office will remain open throughout the summer and the staff anticipates working heavily with the Class of 2009 to help identify and pursue job opportunities.
“Seniors need to expect that their job search will probably take longer than it has for previous classes. They may also have to broaden their employment options and lower their initial salary expectations,” says Cahill. “With smart job-seeking practices, they can and will find satisfying employment.”
Some of these smart job search practices include knowing how to network effectively, tailoring application materials to each organization and researching employers to strategically articulate the value that the job seeker can add to their operations.
SU Career Services is available to help students and alumni develop these skills and practices. The central unit in the Schine Student Center, in conjunction with specialized career offices in each of the University’s schools and colleges, provides career counseling, resume critiques, interview preparation, alumni networking opportunities and employer connections for students and alumni at all stages of the career development process. For more information, visit http://careerservices.syr.edu.