Survey: Job market improving for grads

Businesses are planning to increase their overall hiring by 13.1 percent over the next year, according to a survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The organization’s 2005 Job Outlook Survey, which was based on surveys sent to 254 employers, also indicated in November that business, engineering and computer majors could expect better employment opportunities after leaving college. Officials from the career development service said graduating seniors could expect to find a better job market than previous graduates.

“When we asked our employer members to comment on why they have more jobs to offer, they stated basically that the improvement in the economy, growth of their businesses and the retiring workforce, has led to this increase in jobs,” Andrea Koncz, employment information manager at NACE, wrote in an e-mail last week.

Koncz added that she could not comment on careers that have poor job outlooks, since her group chooses to “only focus on the positive aspects.”

The report also said more than 40 percent of employers surveyed planned to visit college campuses in the spring to interview and hire new graduates.

Marva Jennings, director of GW’s Career Center, said the survey is a good sign for students but it should not be taken as the only indicator of the future job market.

“I usually look at surveys as a piece of information … It’s just a small percentage (of employers),” she said.

Jennings added that although certain majors are singled out by the report as promising fields of study, they are not the only ones showing improvement. She said when firms come to interview students at GW, which is a member of NACE, they look at a broad range of future graduates.

Some majors, though not named in the survey, may prove to be less appealing to employers in the future, Jennings said.

“Some of the majors involved with (manufacturing) have seen a decline,” she said, attributing the cause to improvements in technology.

A U.S. Department of Labor spokesman said the government had no specific comment on the NACE survey, but said the results seemed logical.

“Eighteen of the projected 30 fastest growing jobs require at least a college degree,” he said. “Seven out of the top 30 fastest growing occupations are in technology fields.”

Some graduating seniors said they were worried about their job prospects regardless of what the report stated.

“I had a pretty difficult time getting an internship last summer, and if it is anything like that again, I am pretty worried,” said Kim Sobel, a senior studying English who plans to graduate this month.

Senior Chris Bui, a psychology major, plans to attend graduate school but is very worried about his job prospects afterward.

“Psych has grown a lot,” Bui said. “But I am still pretty worried.”

He said he wants to go to medical school to improve his job outlook, but he still has “no idea” what the job market has in store when he leaves.

Other soon-to-be graduates seemed less worried about their future employment prospects.

“In terms of getting a job in my chosen field of music, I’d say my chance is 68 percent,” said senior Joshua Tuckman, a music and political science major.

Some students have already planned out their future careers. Senior Brian Adkins, an economics and political science major, has received a scholarship from the State Department to pay for graduate school.

“After that, I go straight into the foreign service,” he said. “I signed my life away for six years.”

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