Graduates to enter improving job market

A recent report from Michigan State University’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute indicates that students graduating from college this spring will enter a consistently improving job market.

The annual report on labor-recruiting trends predicts that job opportunities for college graduates will increase by about 6 to 14 percent — growth which follows a 20-percent increase in hiring the previous year. The report, which was authored by the Collegiate Employment Research Institute’s director Philip Gardner, was based on a survey of approximately 900 companies, 41 percent of which declared they planned to hire new graduates in the next year.

Several Yale seniors said their experiences searching for jobs have been in line with the report’s findings and they have had fewer difficulties finding employment than students in past years.

Raghav Khanna ’06, who plans to work as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs next year, said job prospects for finance positions are cyclical and more broadly influenced by the economy and the stock market.

“When the markets do well, firms tend to hire more,” he said. “Even though the markets are up only slightly this year, the economy is doing well. This and the fact that a lot of financial firms generate a big chunk of their revenues from international markets, which are doing extremely well, means that they do need to hire more people.”

Arthur Wojtowicz ’06, who will be working for the consulting firm Bain & Company next year, said many consulting firms have increased their number of job offers from last year and employers are generally offering higher salaries for the same positions. Brian Lee ’06 said the consulting firm he plans to join next year aimed for a 50 percent increase in new hires this recruiting season from the previous year.

The largest gains in employment opportunities will be in the fields of consulting, research, information management, and e-commerce, according to the Michigan State report. Of this year’s pool of graduating seniors, the most sought-after students are those majoring in accounting, civil and environmental engineering, electrical engineering, nursing, and pharmacy, the report found.

Khanna, an electrical engineering and economics major, said in his experiences applying for finance jobs he has found that employers often place high value on engineering majors’ analytical skills.

Despite the increase in job prospects, the report stated that salaries are not expected to increase. Projected salary gains are estimated to be between 2 and 3 percent — the average salary for a college graduate is expected to run around $38,600 to $44,800 annually.

Cole Carnesecca ’06 said he thinks Yalies are more concerned about getting top positions than avoiding unemployment.

“What Yalies are most concerned about is nabbing those coveted few spots that yield the most prestige and income,” he said.

But Lauren Davis ’06 said she thinks the pressure Yalies put on themselves to find postgraduate success is unhealthy.

“The Yale mentality, as I see it, is basically as follows — either I land a six-figure job right out of college, gain acceptance into a top graduate [or] professional school program, get a very prestigious fellowship to study abroad or jump off a bridge,” Davis said in an e-mail. “It’s not like that elsewhere, or at least not to this degree.”

Davis said she is skeptical of the report’s claims that students from certain majors are automatically more desirable to employers than others and regardless of Yale students’ majors, they are equally equipped to succeed.

Other students outside of consulting and investment banking tracks said they find the job market difficult to evaluate.

Hanna Baek ’06 said that because the consulting and banking firms have been among the only employers to begin their recruiting seasons so far this year, it is still hard for seniors in other fields to gauge the job market.

“As Yalies, we are in a really privileged position in which we are highly sought-after despite our majors,” Baek said in an e-mail. “Even if we are ‘theoretically’ highly sought-after, I still have this dread of still being jobless at graduation.”

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