Recent job survey predicts increase in bachelor-degree hires

Christine Morgan

Scott Burmeister, senior business management major, ponders the same question that haunts many students up until graduation — Will I get a job?

According to Recruiting Trends 2010-2011, a job survey given to 4,600 employers by Michigan State University, the answer is yes. Employment for graduates with a Bachelor’s degree is expected to increase by 10 percent. Overall employment for people with degrees is expected to increase 3 percent.

The study stated 36 percent of employers surveyed seek candidates in all majors; indicating employers will hire candidates with the best talent, regardless of their major.

Burmeister said the key to securing a job is showcasing your knowledge and abilities to employers.

“As far as the jobs go, I’m not going to take anything for granted,” Burmeister said. “It’s really about showing people what you know and how you use what you know. I know that with hard work comes with success.”

Barbara Marvin, director of recruiting at 21st Century Financial, said they don’t have a particular major in mind when hiring entry-level advisers. She said her company is expected to hire a minimum of 20-25 new people this year.

“The Financial department at Kent State is extremely strong,” Marvin said. “We don’t get so concerned about grades. It’s more about their attitude and work ethic. I’m not interviewing anyone except Kent students this week and next week. I think the last three individuals interviewed were from Kent State.”

Michael Ellis, associate professor of economics, said he expects the overall economy to grow 3 percent this year. He said businesses have started to hire more employees.

“Typically, during the early stages of recovery, businesses don’t run out and start hiring workers right away,” Ellis said. “Looking at the recent improvement in the labor market, I think it’s going to cause the momentum of the recovery to gain pace.”

Marvin said her company has grown over the past three years, in terms of employment and profit.

“From our firm’s standpoint, we are having the best year we’ve ever had,” Marvin said. “In fact, the past three years were the best. We know the economy is always going to take these ups and downs, and the last dip was lower and longer than normal, but we are hiring and are always trying to find new people.”

Ellis said younger workers will find employment faster than older workers.

“Job prospects are improving for graduates,” Ellis said. “A lot of young people are entering the labor force. We have to create about 100,000 jobs a month just to keep up. If you’re a 50-year-old person, and you’ve been out of work for two years, it’s going to be very hard for someone to hire you.”

Graduate concerns

Carla Owens, associate director of Career Services, said graduates with a negative perception of the job market will have greater unemployment compared to graduates with a positive perception of the job market.

“Unfortunately, the new graduate often chooses not to even attempt a job search,” Owens said. “They’ve heard for the last couple years that we’ve had a downturn in the economy, so they’re just going to go home, live with mom and dad, continue working over the summer and go back to graduate school, which I see a lot.”

Gina Butrico, senior geography major, said she looks for a new job opportunity every day.

“I have heard that the job market has been getting better,” Butrico said. “It’s definitely relieving. I’m on Monster every day applying for a ton of jobs and seeing what’s out there.”

The MSU job survey indicated the job market for graduates with a Master’s in business administration is tight because the amount of graduating M.B.A. students is high.

Owens said students should avoid going to graduate school because they fear unemployment.

“They’re shooting themselves in the foot because they’re basically coming out with the same skill set they had before but with a higher degree,” Owens said. “Employers don’t understand the reason to spend an extra $20,000 more to hire a person with the M.B.A. as opposed to a person with a Bachelor’s degree.”

Internship experience

The MSU job survey stated 60 percent of employers surveyed will hire interns this year.

Kayla Kmitta, talent development specialist at Fleishman-Hillard, said candidates who have internship experience will stand out among the competition.

“Employers can afford to be more selective, which usually happens when there is a downward economy,” Kmitta said. “Actively seek out an internship or volunteer experience. That is one of the things that will set you apart from other students.”

Burmeister said he has completed two internships. He said the internships allowed him to apply his skills outside the classroom.

“The internships helped me because I was able to manage products and events,” Burmeister said. “There are just a lot of things that you can’t learn in a classroom, like handling events and different things that come at you. It’s learning on the job. That’s the one thing I took away from them.”

Meghan Dodley, senior marketing major, said her heavy course load prevented her from completing an internship.

“One of my biggest regrets was not having an internship, so I could put experience down on my resume,” Dodley said. “I’m going to try and get an internship this summer, whether it be paid or not paid. It’s just something I have to do since I didn’t get a chance to do it during school.”

Owens said students who have trouble finding an internship should obtain volunteer experience.

“Offer your services on a voluntary basis,” Owens said. “An internship is really a volunteer experience. If you have skills to offer, nobody is going to turn down those skills in the environment we live in.”

Tips for undergraduates

Amanda Thompson, senior corporate recruiter at Equity Trust Company, attended the Kent State Spring Job and Internship Fair on April 1. She said students should have come to the fair ready to discuss their career aspirations.

“A lot of students didn’t really come prepared,” Thompson said. “They should have done their research before approaching the employer. A lot of students we spoke to were just open to everything. An employer wants the student to have an idea of what they ultimately want to do and what they aspire to be.”

Ellis said students should work on their skills while in college and invest in themselves by gaining internship experience, seeking volunteer opportunities and taking classes that apply to their major.

“I think it’s very important that young people set the foundation for continuous learning,” Ellis said. “People go into many more occupations in the course of their careers than in the past. One of the great things about getting a college education is learning how to learn. Always keep learning and adding to your skill set, so when things change you can change.”

Thompson said students should become more active in their job search because are opportunities available.

“Go out there and have an open mind, but at the same time, you really need to have an idea of your career path,” Thompson said. “You should be taking advantage of your professors. Pound the pavement and look for the opportunity to land a job.

You need to be motivated instead of just thinking that something will fall into your lap.”

Contact Christine Morgan at [email protected].