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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


2012 graduates face healthier job market

Employers could hire more graduates from the class of 2012 than the class of 2011, according to a new report.

Employers surveyed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers said they plan to hire 9.5 percent more graduates from the class of 2012 than were hired from the class of 2011. This could be because employers are thinking of their workforce on a more long-term basis, said Eileen McGarry, director of UA Career Services.

McGarry explained that, because a large portion of the workforce is starting to retire due to the more settled economy, employers need a “pipeline” of new creativity and talent that can be furnished through college hires. This seems apparent through Career Services resources alone — its most recent Career Fair saw about 5 percent more employers in attendance, and there were 55 percent more postings on Wildcat JobLink this August than the year before. McGarry also said that Career Services saw almost double the amount of resume referrals, which occur when an employer contacts the service to request the resumes of qualified candidates.

“Employers are thinking of graduates as positions open,” she added.

Salaries for those in the class of 2012 may also increase. The survey showed that this year’s class of graduates will make on average about 6 percent more than their 2011 counterparts. While the projected increases may bring hope to some students, others are still concerned about finding a job after graduation.

“I’m very scared to find a job … It’s a scary thought to be thrown out into the real world trying to find something that suits you, while there may not be any options at all,” said Amanda Rodenberger, a sociology senior.

Rodenberger said she would consider graduate school after working for a few years, but because it is “much more expensive” than her undergraduate education, she could not afford it on top of her student loans. Most of her other friends, like communication senior Priscilla Salcedo, have similar concerns, she said.

Salcedo explained that although she is already preparing her resume for a post-graduation job search, she is anxious about finding a job because her brother, who graduated in June, “just barely” found a job and will be starting in January.

“I’m nervous,” she said. “It’s nerve-racking and competitive.”
However, she said the projected hiring and salary increases for this year’s graduates are comforting.

“It’s good to know that not everyone is getting rejected,” Salcedo added.

The survey also showed that engineering students from the class of 2012 will make $1,688 more than engineering students from the class of 2011. According to Jim Baygents, the associate dean of academic affairs in the College of Engineering, this could be due to an increase in demand for “able-bodied” students who can reason quantitatively.

Baygents said the math and science skills that engineering students often have can be helpful in both engineering jobs, which he said are generally “highly compensated,” and in jobs outside the field. Engineering degree programs locally and nationally are working to improve “engineering soft skills,” including teamwork and analyzing problems in social and economic contexts, Baygents said.

“Engineers are broader thinkers than they were years ago, and that’s more valuable to employees,” he said. “Employers want students who are good at analyzing and solving problems, and engineers tend to fit that bill, whether it’s in an engineering job or not.”

Students should become involved and engaged early in their college careers to boost their chances of becoming hired, McGarry said.

She explained that students should seek career-related experience, like research, clubs or certain class projects, in addition to getting involved with anything that builds leadership skills. Internships are also a good way to do this, she said, because they play a large role in the hiring process, and many employers use their internship programs as a fast lane to becoming a full-time hire.

“Get engaged that sophomore year so you’re internship ready, get polished and know how to network in an interview,” McGarry said.

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