Job prospects good for college grads in US
The hiring frenzy for graduating college students during the late 1990s has not returned, but it's getting close, analysts say.
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Still, there may be a number of opportunities for grads like Smith and Mr. Bayerle, as a number of employers see value in a broad range of studies. Of 150 senior executives recently surveyed by the staffing organization Accountemps, 21 percent said that to prepare for future business success they would study the liberal arts, up from 14 percent in 1996. Liberal arts came in second only to business administration, which gained 39 percent of the votes, but beat both accounting and law. "[The liberal arts] really stress critical thinking and analysis, which is a skill set that's important for a number of organizations," says Good.Skip to next paragraph
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Though many accounting and economics majors land jobs early, only 30 to 40 percent of students have secured a job by commencement, estimates Dr. White at Rutgers. But six months after graduation, at least 75 percent of graduates will have jobs and another 20 percent will have moved on to graduate school.
Regardless of a student's major, internships offer one surefire path to a job. Sixty-four percent of students who completed an internship said they received a full-time job offer from a company or organization where they interned, reports a 2006 survey by Vault Inc., a career counseling company.
Caitlin Watras, a senior at Boston College with a communications major, was just starting the application process when she got two separate job offers from companies where she'd interned.
She'd taken internships throughout her undergraduate career, hoping they would lead to a full-time position. "When I chose the places where I was going to intern, I was looking for a company that I could potentially go back to," she says.
In such a job-seeker's market, recruiters may begin offering more than just high salaries to attract new talent. "Recruiters have to be very aggressive," says Dianne Durkin, president and founder of Loyalty Factor LLC, a training and consulting firm in Portsmouth, N.H. "This group of college graduates has their choices. They can be picking and choosing what they want, and they know that."
As a result, firms are more willing to meet graduates on their terms by offering them jobs that emphasize learning and growth opportunities, such as job rotations within the company, flexible hours, and liberal vacation policies, says Mrs. Durkin.
"[These new grads] are willing to work hard, but they're willing to work on their terms," says Durkin. "Recruiters have to cater to this, because if they don't, [grads] will find somebody else who will take them."
Additionally, companies may start appealing to this group of grads' sense of social responsibility. "An important element of attracting and retaining talent is creating a workplace and a work culture that stands for something, that is engaged in the community," says John Challenger president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm in Chicago.
Among other things, he imagines companies will draw attention to their environmentally friendly polices to lure green-minded grads.