Hiring outlook is up for 2011 graduates

According to results of the 2011 Top Entry Level Employers survey conducted by CollegeGrad.com, “entry-level hiring is on the rise.” The survey also stated that entry-level hiring is up 22 percent from 2010 hiring rates. Another survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates hiring expectations are up 19.3 percent, which is encouraging news for soon-to-be and recent graduates, especially in this struggling economy.

Hiring expectations are back to the similar projections made in 2007, before the housing industry collapsed. According to NACE there are not as many positions available in fall 2011 as there were in spring 2011, but the number of positions has increased over fall 2010.

In 2010, Enterprise Rent-A-Car had expected to hire only 1,000 new employees, according to the CollegeGrad survey, but the projection for new hires for 2011 is estimated at 8,500 and Verizon Wireless is projecting 13,000 entry-level hires for 2011.

According to NACE research, hiring projections are highest for the engineering industry, with a 97.1 percent increase over last year. The second highest increase is in the construction industry with 59.8 percent change. The retail industry is unfortunately expecting a 4.4 percent decrease in new hires. The government job sector will be hit the hardest with a decrease in new hires by 25.5 percent.

NACE research also showed that hiring opportunities are highest in the Northeast region of the United States with 25.6 percent increase and lowest in the Southeast region with a 7.9 percent increase. The West and Midwest regions both indicate close to a 20 percent increase but show the most improvement due to the types of employer categories such as pharmaceutical, computer and electronics manufacturers, as well as finance, according to NACE research.

When searching for a new job, an option that students and alumni should look to is the University Career Center. The Career Center not only has an extensive job listing, but it also host resume writing workshops, career fairs, etiquette dinners and mock interviews.

There is an alphabet soup of companies that work directly with the Career Center. A very small sampling of names include: Alliance Bernstein, Black & Decker, Capital Group, Deloitte & Touche, ETS, Ford, General Mills, HP, IRS, JC Penney, KPMG, Labatt Food Service, Merck, Northrup Grumman, Pfizer, Rackspace, San Antonio Spurs, Tesoro, Union Pacific, Valero, Walt Disney World and Zachry Corporation.

Audrey Magnuson, director at the University Career Center stated, “Most companies hire for entry level salaried positions. That is how they onboard new talent from the recent college graduates.”

Magnuson also said, “It is so important for students to pursue internships, cooperative education and/or part time work during their collegiate experience that will enhance their marketability when they graduate.”

The CollegeGrad.com survey showed that grade point average is not an important characteristic to 97 percent of hiring managers. The characteristics that managers are looking for in a recent college graduate are his or her undergraduate major, internship, work experience and communication skills.

NACE research revealed the ability to verbally communicate ranked highest in importance, with the ability to make decisions, solve problems, plan, organize and prioritize each ranking only one tenth of a point lower.

Over half of the employers that responded to the NACE survey stated that they would be hiring applicants with master’s degrees and a fourth will hire those with doctoral degrees. Only 17.8 percent plan to exclusively hire candidates with bachelor’s degrees.

Internships are great for getting more experience or for getting a foot in the door. Internships are beneficial for both the employee and employer. The employee gets greater exposure to the different aspects of a company or industry. The employer has the opportunity to see employees in action prior to making a long-term commitment, which helps in finding the proper fit.

San Antonio has many opportunities for internships. “Companies that hire a large number of interns include Tesoro, CPS, Enterprise and Union Pacific,” Magnuson said. “Companies come to UTSA because of the diversity, the bright students they have hired in the past and the success they have when they are recruiting here at UTSA.”