October 19, 2001

Career Experts Forsee Dip in College Hiring

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With experts signaling the beginnings of a national recession, many Cornell students are feeling the heat. In a spotlight article in its Sept. 18 publication, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) projected college hiring to drop 19.7 percent in 2001-02.

NACE surveys employers across the country to determine exactly how the job market for college students is faring. In NACE’s 2002 “Job Outlook” e-mail survey, the organization found that overall, 30 percent of employer respondents planned to cut back on college hiring for the coming year. While the statistic may seem sobering, 30.1 percent of respondents said they plan to hire more new college graduates than last year, while 39.9 percent stated they would duplicate last year’s hiring levels.

Despite these balanced statistics, some of the Class of 2001 seniors are experiencing difficulties.

“It’s a little frustrating,” said Kath Fenzel ’02 about breaking into the job market. “I had some interviews set up before the Sept. 11 attack and they’ve been retracted. Other companies are just discontinuing interviews altogether until spring time. At this point, I’m kind of at a standstill.”

Fenzel’s sentiments are shared by Jessica Napora ’02.

“There’s a big hiring freeze,” Napora said. “A lot of people went to the Career Fair [last month] and many companies essentially said ‘We’re not hiring until 2003.'”

For other seniors, graduate school is an attractive alternative to directly entering the workforce. Mark Golkowski ’02 will be graduating this fall with a degree in electrical engineering and is taking the GRE test tomorrow.

“There have been a lot of hiring freezes. With the uncertain economic times and a war in progress, grad school seems like a safe and comfortable place to be,” Golkowski said.

But despite the frustrations the University is geared up to help. Bill Alberta MS ’77, associate director for information services, said that there are multiple places on campus where students can receive one-on-one career advice and counseling. Cornell Career Services has walk-in hours Monday through Friday, 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. in room 103 of Barnes Hall to assist students with their job searches.

In his 20 years at Cornell, Alberta has been a witness to the United States’ fluctuating economy.

“A lot of people overstate the worry. This is the kind of year that you want to make sure you conduct your job search in the most effective way possible, and we’re here to help with that,” he said.

According to Alberta, the job market projections change depending on what job sector is examined. And while the service and manufacturing industries are experiencing the biggest changes, University students should remain optimistic.

“It’s not so much a question whether Cornell graduates who are seeking work are going to find work, [because] yes they are,” Alberta noted. “It’s more a question of how many options are they going to have at their disposal. Students should have not just a Plan A, but a Plan B and C as well.”

In addition to the Cornell Career Services, students can receive training and advice, and access an extensive network of alumni contacts through their specific college career offices.

Archived article by Signe Pike