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Employers chase talent amid economic uncertainty at Notre Dame career fairs

The Center for Career Development hosted the 2022 In-Person Fall Career Fair in the Duncan Student Center from Monday through Wednesday this week.

Events on the first night included Engineering Industry Day and a sustainability expo. Exactly 150 employers filled out table space in the Dahnke Ballroom on Tuesday for the All-Colleges Career Fair. On Wednesday, the postgraduate service and social impact fair helped close out the three-day event.

Protiviti, a global business consulting firm, was one of the employers present at the fair Monday to recruit students with business technology and data analytics skills.

Timothy Wilson, a 1984 Notre Dame graduate and manager in the data and analytics solution group in Protiviti’s Chicago office, tabled at the fair to draw all possible interest for his firm.

Like most of the consulting industry, Protiviti grew during the pandemic, Wilson said.

Despite the economic downturn in the U.S. economy since the start of this year, Wilson does not see growth in the consulting industry stopping any time soon.

“I see plenty of continuing need for consulting going forward. Clearly, we are doing something right,” he said, referring to Protiviti’s growth.

Ever-present volatility, which has been the market reality the past couple of years, is beneficial for Protiviti’s business, Wilson said.

“In periods of broad uncertainty, consulting offers a real advantage because it can offer short-term support and long-term strategic vision,” he said.

Wilson noted enduring changes in the business world since the beginning of the pandemic.

“The market is changing, and companies are going to need consultants to help navigate change,” he said.

Josh Cabrera, a senior research analyst for Marquette Associates, was another Notre Dame graduate at the fair searching for young talent. Cabrera agreed with Wilson about the pandemic’s boost to the consulting field.

“The capital market volatility ironically increases the need for investment consulting support,” he said.

Recruiting after the pandemic has changed as a result of the hiring difficulties brought on by the tight labor market, Cabrera said.

“Work from home is affecting what job applicants value,” he said. “They are valuing more flexibility than straight compensation.”

Firms must now be “flexible to the needs of the average employee,” Cabrera said.

Though Cabrera prefers employees to come into the office to interact with the team, Marquette Associates must now offer a hybrid work from home environment, he said.

Brandon Ladd, a 2022 Notre Dame graduate with a degree in finance and history, returned to his alma mater to recruit for Walmart’s accounting and finance development program. Walmart, like many of the companies present at the fair, was looking to hire seniors or graduate students for full-time positions in addition to interns, Ladd said.

Throughout 2022, Walmart and other large retailers have struggled to recover stock losses during the market’s latest dip. Ladd was nonetheless confident that the program he was recruiting for was a “comfortable companywide initiative,” he said.

Walmart was looking to hire more this year compared to last, Ladd said, and he did not believe that the U.S. economy is “really in recession.”

“People still have to go get their groceries,” he said.

Contact Peter Breen at pbreen2@nd.edu.