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Job search proves difficult for some in current economy

Mary Migliozzi | Friday, September 19, 2003

With the economy in recession, many students are concerned about the job market and its effects on their chances for employment after graduation.

“I think there has been some increased difficulty,” said Ava Preacher, Associate Director of the College of Arts and Letters’ Undergraduate Advising program. “We don’t have the atmosphere we had a few years ago when the job market was booming, but there are jobs out there.”

Lee Svete, director of the Career Center, said that, while the job market is still lagging, employment prospects for students are beginning to improve.

“It’s getting better this year,” he said. “We see more companies at the career fairs.”

An estimated 163 companies visited campus this week for the Engineering Industry Day and Business Career Fair.

Matt Novitsky and Bryan Kronk, both 2003 graduates, said they had difficulties searching for a job because of the downturn in the economy.

“Nobody was hiring. You apply and companies ignore you,” said Novitsky, an aerospace engineering major.

Kronk, who majored in accounting, said the economy “played a huge role in my lack of success finding a job after graduation.” He said his biggest problem, however, was finding a job outside the Midwest in his hometown of Boston.

Svete said this is the biggest problem graduates face. He said that students who want to live outside the Midwest often do not find job opportunities at career fairs.

“They don’t engage early enough with the career networking process,” he said.

The areas of study that have been most affected by the economy, Svete said, are consulting, certain areas of technology and architecture. He said the biggest reason architecture students were affected this year is that they traditionally look for jobs later in the spring and therefore were more affected by the economic repercussions of the war in Iraq.

The University’s Office of Institutional Research surveys graduating seniors each spring to determine what they plan to do after graduation. In 2003, 20 percent of graduates surveyed were still in the process of actively seeking employment, up from 12 percent two years before.

Twenty-four percent had accepted an employment position, which is down 11 percent since 2001.

The majority of the remaining students were either planning to attend graduate or professional school or participate in a service program.

The percentage of students planning to attend law, medical, dental or graduate school has not increased since last year. The slight increase in participation in service activities is not unusual and is not because of the economy, said professor John Staud, director of the Alliance for Catholic Education program.

“We’ve grown every year of our existence,” he said.

There are 168 participants in the two-year service program this year.

Svete said the job market has been improving since the spring.

“In June and July, we saw real growth, and the class of 2003 reported more job opportunities,” he said.

Kronk is among the graduates who found employment more recently, obtaining a job at an advertising agency in Boston. Preacher said the future for graduating seniors is not as bleak as the numbers may reveal.

“Our students get jobs; it’s a matter of finding jobs right for them,” Preacher said.