Jobs Prospects Up for ’07

Andrew Wickerham

Landing that elusive first job is getting a bit easier for Colgate seniors and their peers across the country. According to a recently released survey conducted by career advice website CareerBuilder.com, 79 percent of hiring managers say they plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 70 percent in 2006.

“As the skilled-labor force shrinks, the demand for educated workers will continue to increase,” CareerBuilder.com’s Chief Operating Officer, Brent Rasmussen, said in an April 12 statement announcing the survey’s results.

The survey, which polled 2,591 hiring managers in the healthcare, hospitality, IT, retail and sales industries, also noted an expected increase in starting salaries. 42 percent of hiring managers anticipate increasing starting salaries for recent college graduates in 2007, and only four percent plan to decrease them.

CareerBuilder.com Career Advisor Theresa Chu said that developments in the college experience are playing a large role in hiring trends.

“Hiring managers are realizing that college graduates do have a lot more experience these days,” Chu said. “For instance, they see people like the fraternity finance manager and understand that they’ve already managed budgets of ten or fifteen thousand dollars or more.”

Chu reiterated Rasmussen’s point that these trends will only expand in coming years.

“I think it will continue on an upward trend because with the baby boomers retiring, we need this younger workforce to take over those positions,” she said.

Colgate’s Career Services confirmed the national trends noted in the survey.

“Students are having a greater number of interviews, and for some that’s turning into more job offers,” Associate Director of Career Services Barbara Roback said.

While Colgate did not comment on starting salaries, Roback said that students are generally pleased with the offers that they are receiving. She did note that signing bonuses are up in a very strong employment market.

Colgate’s job placement statistics reflect this market strength. With 82 percent of the class of 2006 reporting to Career Services, 75.8 percent are employed, 20.8 percent are in graduate school, and 3.4 are in transition between school and a career. Of the many, Roback noted that the school has seen a large increase in the number of students exploring various consulting jobs.

“For the class of 2007 we are also seeing a large interest in living and working abroad, in many different locations,” she said. “Some [students] are interested in volunteering or just traveling, as work permits can be hard to obtain in some countries.”

A large part of Colgate graduates’ success in securing a job placement is the result of strong support from the school’s alumni; a fact, Roback said, that makes the University the envy of its peer schools. She encouraged all students to tap into these resources through the various programs offered by Career Services.

Despite the growing opportunities, both Chu and Roback said that students still have to be prepared for a competitive hiring process.

“Colgate offers a great education, but students still have to learn how to sell their stories,” Roback said.

Chu agreed on this point, reiterating the fact that students continue to direct their own path to success.

“When college graduates go out there looking for jobs,” she said, “they should put their best foot forward and be leveraging those experiences that they had. It’s up to college grads to see what they want to do and see that their skill sets match these fields.”