Friday, October 23, 2009

Fresh grads to have a better shot at scarce jobs than previous classes

Students entering the work force this spring will be greeted with nearly 9 percent unemployment locally.

Nationally, employers plan to hire 5.3 percent more new college graduates than they did last year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' spring job outlook. That's positive news, the group says, because college hiring had been in negative territory since October 2008.

The group found in a separate survey that a higher percentage of students this year actually have a job waiting for them after graduation.

Still, hiring levels are hardly back to their pre-recession levels.

Hiring has yet to fully rebound in the public sector, which is still grappling with less revenue.

Chambersburg Area School District spokesperson Sylvia Rockwood said any hiring the district does will be "very minimal."

Private business has also been reluctant to bring on new employees.

Stephen Holoviak, professor of management at Penn State Mont Alto, said the retiring baby boomers were supposed to create work force shortages, but plummeting portfolios forced many of them to put off retirement. And those who did retire -- their positions were not always filled.

"This is one of the longest recessions in history," Holoviak said. "That also makes employers fearful. Do I want to bring on a young woman or man if I'm not sure I can keep them? Why bring them on if they have to lay them off? Some companies thought this would be eight or nine months. They still hired and ended up laying people off."

He said students are finding jobs, but it may take them a longer time.

"Despite a very challenging job market, Wilson College students remain optimistic," said Angela M. Lynch, director of career development for the Chambersburg college. "The students that I have worked with in our Career Development Center are enthusiastic and considering all possibilities, recognizing that now more than ever they have to take their job search efforts seriously in order to make an impact on potential employers. Students are also using every opportunity for networking within their fields in hopes of making the right connection."

Holoviak said it's likely that students graduating this year may have to find work outside of their field of study after graduation.

"There's nothing wrong with that," he said. "We know the average student changes careers three or four times in the first seven or eight years. It doesn't hurt them. If they're hired and they do a good job, it will help their resume."

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Marcus Rauhut can be reached at or 262-4752.

Graduate hiring

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers:

- Employers plan to hire 5.3 percent more new college graduates in 2009-10 than they did in 2008-09.

- Nearly one-quarter (24.4 percent) of 2010 graduates who applied for a job actually have one waiting for them after graduation. In comparison, just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job had one at this time last year.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

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