Companies Expect To Hire Fewer 2010 Grads

There’s a report out that should be a wake-up for the procrastinators in the class of 2010. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) says employers are cutting back next year’s college hiring plans by 7 percent.

That may not seem like much until you consider that employers reduced this year’s college grad hiring by 21 percent. That seven percent is on top of this year’s cuts, meaning that there will be almost 30 26.53 percent fewer jobs being offered to the current crop of seniors than their counterparts had in 2008.

NACE chartFor comparison, each NACE Job Outlook from 2004 to the spring of 2008 predicted double-digit increases in college senior hiring. The spring 2008 hiring preview predict 8.1 percent growth.

Besides cutting back on their hiring, NACE’s Job Outlook 2010 Fall Preview says employers are shifting their recruiting to the spring. Not in big numbers; only about a 5 percent change from the 2008 survey when the split was 63 percent planned to hire in the fall, while the rest were looking to the spring.

The only region of the U.S. that expects to increase college hiring is the northeast, though only by about 5 percent, which, if you are following the numbers here, will still be below the 2007 hiring level.

“Traditionally, employers tend to be conservative about their college hiring when the economy is in flux,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “Although employers anticipate doing most of their recruiting in the fall, we are seeing some movement to recruit in the spring. This is likely due to anticipation that the economic recovery will be underway by then.”

What this means for college seniors should be self-evident: Get a resume, portfolio, or profile together now; network with alums, professors, your parents friends, and your friends’ parents; go to the on-campus job fairs; talk to the careers office, even if you think it’s lame. If you’ve been thinking of grad school, apply and at least keep the  option open.

For recruiters, the survey suggests opportunities to hire top seniors who might have had their sights set on bigger fish. With fewer jobs and fewer employers pursuing them, even the kids at the top of the class are likely to be more willing to consider smaller firms who aggressively recruit now, instead of next spring.

Don’t make the mistake, though, that it will be a cakewalk to get the best. I got an unusual press release pitching the benefits of an internship with SRC (formerly Syracuse Research Corporation) in Syracuse, NY. It’s unusual in that it is the first internship sales pitch in a press release we can recall receiving at ERE.

The first line of the release says SRC is sweetening its internship benefits “specifically to increase the number of top applicants and retain the best talent for full-time positions.” By the way, “sweet” is the right adjective to apply to the internship benefits. The company is offering to pay for the temporary relocation costs of interns, a housing stipend, referral bonus to former interns, paying positions after the internship as campus ambassadors for SRC, tuition assistance, and more.

What’s more, the research and development firm makes a point of telling interns that they’ll be involved in important and valuable work almost from the moment they arrive. “SRC interns are involved in the same activities as full time employees, including research, design and development, customer interaction and occasional business travel,” the press release says.

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