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Job market good for grads: Surveys predict increase in college hiring
[May 05, 2006]

Job market good for grads: Surveys predict increase in college hiring

(Chattanooga Times (Free Press, TN) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) May 5--This month's college graduates have a better chance than last year's to walk from the commencement stage into a full-time job, according to a pair of recent surveys.

Seven in 10 hiring managers polled in February and March by CareerBuilder.com said they plan to recruit recent college graduates this year, up from 62 percent last year. Fourteen percent of employers responding to a March-April National Association of Colleges and Employers survey said their college hiring for this year will surpass last year's.

"This class is going to do as well, probably better, than any in the last five years," said Jean Dake, director of placement and student employment at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


Money also should be better for those graduating in fields most in demand, according to CareerBuilder.com. Of managers responding to that poll, 27 percent said they anticipate increasing starting salaries this year for recent college graduates. Five percent planned to offer less money.

"The increased demand for educated labor is translating into a robust hiring outlook and bigger payoff for graduates entering the job market this year," said Brett Rasmussen, CareerBuilder's chief operating officer.

Marilyn Mackes, NACE's executive director, said her organization's poll indicates that employers in all sectors are predicting hiring increases. The service sector likely will be busiest with employers in that sector indicating that they plan to hire 16 percent more new graduates this year than in 2005. Mrs. Dake said she's noticed signs of increased activity and interest in other areas as well.

"Lots of Web development, maintenance and programming jobs," she said. "We've also seen a lot more job postings for ecommerce as well."

Mrs. Dake said reports of plans for more hiring came as no surprise, given the increased employer traffic she saw this academic year on UTC's campus.

"We have several career day events each year," she said. "Those events were up by about 10 percent overall in terms of employer turnout, and we had to turn some away.

"On-campus recruiting was probably even with last year, maybe up by 2 to 4 percent, but job postings were up by maybe 10 to 15 percent," she said.

Mrs. Dake said many national companies with regional opportunities seem to want to hire more recent graduates. But on the flip side, she said, those recent graduates are sometimes a bit inflexible.

"Sometimes a (graduate) is not willing to go where the jobs are geographically," she said, "and some don't want to do the types of jobs that are there.

"We're getting a lot of sales jobs, lots of opportunities in sales and marketing, but not a lot of fresh graduates want to do that," she said.

Katie Glidden, 24, who graduated from UTC six months ago, said she wants a sales job, but admitted to being "very picky" about her first post-graduate, full-time position.

"Most entry-level jobs I've seen pay in the $24,000 range," she said. "I want to earn more money."

Miss Glidden, an education major who's worked part-time for two years at downtown Chattanooga's Sticky Fingers restaurant, said she's got her sights set on a particular company and should know something in a week or so.

"I want to make more than (I can) teaching," she said. "I love teaching, and I'll probably fall back on that, but I want to find out first if I can excel in the business world."

E-mail Bob Gary Jr. at bgary@timesfreepress.com SHOW ME THE MONEY Starting salaries hiring managers responding to CareerBuilder.com's survey say they'll offer 2006 college graduates: 34 percent plan to offer $20,000 to $30,000 28 percent plan to offer $30,000 to $40,000 10 percent plan to offer $40,000 to $50,000 7 percent plan to offer $50,000 or more Source: CareerBuilder.com WHAT EMPLOYERS WANT The top five qualities hiring managers responding to CareerBuilder.com's survey say they look for in a prospective employee: 1. Relevant experience (23 percent) 2. Good fit with company culture (21 percent) 3. Educational background (19 percent) 4. Enthusiasm (12 percent) 5. Offers ideas/asks questions (8 percent) Source: CareerBuilder.com WHERE THE JOBS ARE Employers in every region of the country responding to the National Association of Colleges and Employers spring hiring survey say they'll hire more new college graduates this year than they did last year. How many more, by region: Northeast: 24.8 percent more than 2005 South: 13.8 percent more than 2005 Midwest: 9.8 percent more than 2005 West: 5.8 percent more than 2005 Source: NACE

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