Spring Grad Outlook, Part II

Some more thoughts and trends on the Class of 2008, and the best ways to tap into the most promising new graduates this spring:

— Despite what is happening at Bear Stearns, NYC-area students are hungry for their bite of the Big Apple, with Wall Street jobs in the highest demand. Results from the Universum IDEAL survey of six area undergraduate universities reveal that both Goldman Sachs (24%) and the financial services industry (29%) are tops. In contrast, undergraduate students outside of New York are more interested in Google as the ideal employer, and the government/public service sector as the ideal industry. NYC-area students also value compensation packages the most (40%), compared to the general population, which prefers work/life balance (39%).

— The Universum survey also reveals students’ preferences when it comes to gathering information about employers, with career fairs coming in first, followed by internships, company websites, online job boards, and coming in fifth, company recruiters at school. The students say the information they prefer the most at career fairs includes material on internships; current job openings; career-development opportunities; the actual recruitment process; and mentoring.

— MonsterTRAK, the student division of Monster.com, released its sixth-annual nationwide survey of employers and college students. New graduates may be disappointed, as 73% expect to receive two or more job offers upon graduation. However, employers are being cautiously optimistic, with 59% planning to hire 2008 graduates in the spring or summer, a decrease of 17% year-over-year, while 29% of companies are still unsure. One-third of employers with hiring plans will increase the average salary for 2008 graduates to $39,500, up from $36,000 last year. Recruiters should note that only 57% of new grads think base salary offerings are of great importance, with 81% ranking growth opportunities as very or extremely important, and 79% seeking a job that offers personal fulfillment.

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— Many engineering graduates are seeing larger-than-average salary increases, with a 5.7% boost since last year, raising their average offer to $56,336. Salary Survey, a quarterly report published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, says chemical engineering grads are seeing the biggest increase since last year. The increase for chemical engineers is 6.2%, bringing their average offer to $63,749. Civil engineering grads are seeing a 4.8% increase, to $49,427; electrical engineering grads are seeing a 3.5% increase, to $56,512; and mechanical engineering grads are seeing a 3.4% increase, to $56,429.

— Think it’s hard getting across to Gen Y? A new survey of more than 2,500 senior HR and training executives finds that companies are twice as likely to report difficulty reaching Millennials than any other employee group. The new data, from Boston-based Novations Group, shows that 18.9% of respondents reported problems with Gen Y/Millennials. This figure is more than double other groups, such as off-shore employees (7%); older employees (5%); and recent immigrants (2.5%). So just what is the best way to communicate with Gen Y this hiring season? Novations urges recruiters to avoid gimmicks and not to expect tried-and-true ways of communicating to work. Younger employees are more “jaded,” so skip the gimmicks. “Take part in a two-way discussion, and don’t try to wow them with a fancy presentation. Don’t be afraid to turn the meeting over to your team, leverage their know-how, and take your own notes. Use less technology, and eliminate it all together for meetings with fewer than 50 employees,” says Novations executive consultant Michelle Knox.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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