Monday May 1, 2006

Bright Job Outlook for College Grads

This is the best job market for college graduates since 2000.

Life is good for 22-year-old Nate Woodard.

The electrical engineering major will graduate from the University of Dayton on May 7 with a diploma and a sense of security. While most college graduates in the recent years of a down market wondered when they'd land their first position, Nate was trying to decide which of multiple job offers to take. The signing bonus helped seal the deal.

"The overall salary offer was pretty impressive and the deciding factor," Woodard said. "I feel very relieved that I'm going into graduation weekend with a job already lined up. It's a great way to close things out."

According to Greg Hayes, executive director of career services at the University of Dayton, this is the best job market for college graduates since 2000.

"Hiring is up nearly 14 percent," Hayes said. "This year, nearly 44 percent of UD's graduates have jobs waiting for them, compared to 30 percent last year."

A report issued by The National Association of Colleges and Employers includes a survey of employers, saying more than 60 percent of them plan to hire more new college graduates this year than last year. At UD, employers made their presence known.

"We had an increase in participants in our career fairs as well as our on-campus recruiting program, which is still going on strong," Hayes said.

The courtship for University of Dayton's Jessica Geier started shortly after her senior year began. A Spanish major, Geier was hired by Fifth Third Bank in November for a job that starts a few weeks after the May graduation.

"I started looking for jobs early because I knew it would be competitive," Geier said. "Being bilingual helped me immensely in getting my job. Employers almost look at having a second language as a prerequisite."

According to career experts, certain industries, such as accounting, engineering and sales, are hiring more than others. But globalization — and even a natural disaster — is contributing to a healthy job market in all sectors.

"A lot of the available sales jobs are being driven by the insurance industry because of Hurricane Katrina," Hayes said. "And for students who want to work right away regardless of their major, teaching English as a second language in China is a booming opportunity."

Geier knows all too well the benefits of learning another language.

"Now I tell everyone younger than me to take a foreign language," Geier said. "I really had no idea what kind of job I'd get with a language degree and I certainly never expected to land one in the financial industry, but I've learned it's a skill that's a necessity."

Both Geier and Woodard said at least half of their friends and peers already have jobs lined up. Woodard believes the rest are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Most grads I know have good prospects and are just waiting for the call. I don't think anyone will be left in the dark this year."

For more information or media interviews, contact Greg Hayes at (937) 229-2075, Nate Woodard at (937) 371-7720 or Jessica Geier at (614) 581-6901.