As graduation approaches, employment trends emerge

| Assignment Editor

As the school year comes to a close, seniors can be heard chatting around campus about their post-graduation plans.

Usually about 30-40 percent of graduating students enroll in graduate or professional school for the year following their graduation, according to Mark Smith, director of the Career Center. Another third of the students enroll in graduate school within five years of graduation. In the average year, slightly more than 50 percent of seniors plan to enter into the workforce immediately upon graduating from Washington University.

Some students are worried about finding jobs given the current tumultuous economic environment, but according to Smith, students are not having a more difficult time finding jobs.

“Even though the market is going down, we are bringing in more employers,” Smith said.

Senior Danielle Porter will be working for L’Oreal next year in Little Rock, Ark. Porter found her job through a Career Center career fair. Porter is a student worker at the Career Center.

“I wouldn’t say there’s a larger number of students who don’t have jobs this year versus any other year. Most of my friends have jobs,” Porter said.

Many students work for Wash. U., Teach for America or other employers whose employment policies have not been especially affected by the economy.

According to Smith, employers tend to hold Wash. U. students in high regard.

“If they have hired a Wash. U. student in the past, they will continue to because they know how good the students are,” Smith said.

There are no geographic or industry-related employment trends among Wash. U. students. Graduates find jobs all over the country and in a diverse range of industries.

“We have never been vested in one particular geographic area or industry,” Smith said.

Regardless, Smith acknowledges that many students are attracted to specific geographic regions when searching for jobs. Factors including family and industry draw students to particular regions.

According to Smith, a new employment trend has been emerging. Employers are hiring more students who participated in their summer internship programs. Companies will hire students as interns the summer before their senior year. If the students are successful, the company will extend a job offer in many cases.

“More and more employers are looking into internships as a way to do their hiring. We are really stressing to students the importance of internships,” Smith said.

Smith encourages students to explore career opportunities through summer internships. There are three main benefits to summer internships: They can lead to students being hired, they provide work experience and they help students to discover their true career interests.

After interning for Scottrade for nine months, senior Jeff Ye was offered a full-time position for next year.

”Just through the internship they were able to see that culturally I was a fit and that they were satisfied with my quality of work ethic,” Ye said.

“The internships are important because they are a way of turning something into a job,” Smith said.

The Career Center offers students career counseling even after graduation, and encourages students to keep in contact over the summer while continuing their job searches.

Still, many students find the process daunting.

“I was a little bit worried… but it ended up working out in the end,” Porter said.