Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Job outlook rosy for ’07 grads

Parents of this year’s University of Denver graduates can breathe a sigh of relief: The job market for their sons and daughters is continuing to improve.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook 2007 Fall Preview survey found that the nation’s employers are planning to hire 17.4 percent more new college graduates this year than last, continuing a four-year rebound.

Recent national and state unemployment reports reflect continued job growth as well, with unemployment dropping to a six-month low of 4.4 percent nationwide in March and a six-year low of 3.8 percent for Colorado in February.

Employers’ increased interest in college grads is reflected in the increased activity at DU’s Career Center, which for the first time in several years is seeing waiting lists for its three annual job fairs. Acting Director Pat O’Keefe says big employers — such as EchoStar and Sun Microsystems — that sat out past job fairs are again keen on interviewing DU graduates.

“This is the best job market we’ve seen in several years,” O’Keefe says.

Students are taking advantage of the improved market, she says, by turning out in droves for job fairs and filling the center’s schedule for one-on-one counseling. DU career counselors see a wide spectrum of undergraduates, she says, from first-year students already mapping their future careers to seniors struggling with last-minute job searches. 

The center offers help with resumes, mock interviews, job searches and references to thousands of “e-cruiting” Web sites and services.

Financial services and government employers are the most active in recruiting graduates this year, O’Keefe says, noting that the job market is particularly ripe for those with degrees in accounting and investment.

National and state government agencies are looking for a broad range of employees, she says, to replace a wave of civil servants expected to retire during the next decade. According to Joe Winter, senior economist of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, more than 40 percent of all state and government employees will retire within the next five to 10 years. 

Colorado, home to a plethora of federal agencies, is just now seeing the tip of what could be a very large iceberg of government job opportunities, he says.

That bodes well for DU grads, since most of them stay in Colorado after Commencement. The state labor department projects a growing state job market, with total employment growing by about 3 percent a year through 2014. And while much of Colorado’s job growth is in retail and natural resources, the number of white-collar jobs requiring post-secondary education is growing as well, Winter says. 

The state’s professional, scientific and technical services sector is expected to add more than 10,000 job this year and nearly 170,000 jobs during the next decade.

The NACE survey shows national service-sector employers expect to hire 19.8 percent more college graduates this year, focusing on those with accounting, computer science and management degrees. Government employers expect to increase hiring by 9 percent and are looking for the same types of graduates. The manufacturing sector expects to hire 9.5 percent more employees this year and will be searching colleges nationwide for those with mechanical, electrical and chemical engineering degrees.

The West has one of the strongest job markets, according to NACE. Employers in the region expect to increase new college graduate hiring by 23 percent.

“This year’s graduates have good reason to be optimistic,” Winter says. “Momentum is solid for those areas requiring a college degree.”

Top 10 degrees in demand
1.    Accounting
2.     Business administration/management
3.    Computer science
4.    Electrical engineering
5.    Mechanical engineering
6.    Information sciences and systems
7.    Marketing/marketing management
8.    Computer engineering
9.    Civil engineering
10.    Economics/finance

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2007 survey

This article originally appeared in The Source, May 2007.

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