Employers of all sizes are rolling out the red carpet for college graduates fresh from commencement. Before they even received their diplomas, graduates of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University were courted by numerous big-name companies, and there’s no shortage of positions available this year.
“They accepted positions at Honeywell, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Deloitte Consulting, Boeing, General Dynamics, and it just goes on and on,” said Kitty McGrath, the school’s executive director of undergraduate career management. “Range of salaries reported was $30,000 to $70,000, with a mean (average) of $47,707.”
Elaine Stover, ASU’s associate director of career services, agreed that there’s a lot out there for graduates who know what they’re looking for and how to go about finding it.
“The economy and the whole recruiting cycle is very strong right now,” she said. “This is a time where a lot of the employers are realizing oops, school is getting out . . . so while many of our students already have accepted positions and internships, others are still seeking employment and certainly there are a lot of employers out there that are still looking to hire.”
According to a national survey of senior executives, 41 percent said their firms are more active in recruiting university graduates now than they were five years ago. The survey of 150 senior executives was developed by Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International, the world’s largest staffing firm.
“A lot of employers have increased their hiring due to the improving economy in general and business growth in the marketplace,” said Amanda Wistrom, Robert Half branch manager in Scottsdale. “Companies are in a hiring mode again and seeking candidates for a variety of entry-level jobs in many different industries. Many graduates today typically do have multiple employment offers to choose from.”
At ASU, the most aggressive recruiting has taken place in the areas of education, financial services, construction and building, and retail, Stover said.
“We know there are a lot of opportunities for K-12 teachers,” she said. “We have a fairly strong education program, and K-12 is definitely one of the top areas as far as where the hiring is available right now.”
Banks, investment companies, insurance providers and others in the financial services arena have been pursuing graduates for a variety of positions, Stover said.
“All of them have been recruiting quite heavily over the last year at all of the career events that we have,” she said.
As for construction and building, employers need more people to accommodate all of the growth that’s taking place, Stover said.
“We have a construction management major and we have the civil engineering major, and those are in demand,” she said. “Sales is also a part of that.”
Retail giants such as Mervyn’s, Target, Sears and Wal-Mart all are recruiting management trainees, purchasing agents, sales and human resources personnel, Stover said.
In the business school, graduates have been courted by household-name companies, as well as small- to medium-size companies, McGrath said.
“The market is strong, and so I have every confidence that (graduates who haven’t yet been hired), if they really make an active search, will be successful within a relatively short period of time,” she said.
Last week’s East Valley Job Fair at the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa provided ample evidence that a wide range of employers are looking to hire many people at various professional levels.
George Thorne, state business relations coordinator in the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s Employment Administration, helped organize the job fair and said numerous employers were ready to hire on the spot, as opposed to just accepting resumes.
“The opportunities are in almost every industry,” he said.
“We concentrate on the Department of Labor highgrowth industries, which pretty much covers everyone this year: From airlines to high tech, to biotech, to transportation, retail, wholesale and hospitality.”
The job fair attracted 64 employers, and an estimated 3,000 job seekers attended the event.
Kevin Green, who lives in Mesa, was searching for a full-time job in sales and/or administration.
The college graduate has a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities now,” he said.
“I was out of work for a while and then I got a job doing temporary work.
Now I’m just trying to get my foot in the door and get on permanently.”