With an eye on the recovery, the class of 2010 arrives on campus

Going into this week, the business community is being peppered with positive news stories; most of us know that these stories represent some sort of recovery taking place, and hope that some good signs will continue. Most of the numbers we are seeing in unemployment, housing prices, corporate dividends and other metrics seem to point a less-bad, if not improving environment.

Journalists in the business community are beginning to remind us what we ought to be doing in transitional periods like this one. Corporate productivity has radically improved in the last quarter, and with improvements in the larger economy, we are hearing that it will soon be time to compete for talent.

This is good news for students entering the fall recruitment season. Approximately 40% of recruitment will be done this fall, by some estimates. Truth be told, most organizations outside the big five accounting firms will have trouble predicting their employee turnover, but will have a higher likelihood of creating opportunities for entry level labor over the course of the next two quarters. Given the improving economic climate, spring graduates may be looking at a much improved scenario for hiring than in spring of this year.  Though some early polls of employers are indicating a further slowdown in 2010 graduate recruitment, the larger economic environment can turn these predictions on a dime.

Some schools of thought propose that graduates will be continuously endangered by the ultra-competitive hiring environment that favors experience whereas some other opportunities will favor young graduates. The latest example of the former philosophy is exhibited by major franchise firms lowering the cost of buying one of their businesses, hoping to lure energetic business graduates into owning one of their branches.

I think it is fair to say to graduates and seniors in college that the recent contraction in hiring has been a highly reactionary behavior inside of firms looking to consolidate their staff and preserve the equity in their firms. Over the course of economic history, these moments are rare, but they do happen. By rule, the firms that successfully contract, retain shareholder value, build their credit lines then expand are the first to ultimately offer opportunity later. Despite the difficult period between 2007 and 2009, the environment by design will continue to improve.

Some trends may continue to grow, as the talent search during a growth economy intensifies:

  • Social media will grow in importance for reaching into and cultivating potential talent pools.
  • Academic programs that customize their programs with agility and a focus on their target employers will achieve continuous desirability
  • Students will stand out, not schools. Talent will continue to be sourced wherever it resides, and insofar as specific disciplines in science, technology and research are harder to find, the hunt for these students will be intense, and less tethered to geography.
  • Students will engage in highly tailored programs with an increased focus on employability. Students will likely make up the difference in the economy by investing in an educational program that lands them the kind of work they most desire. This stems from a highly engaged set of mentors who can help groom them for employability (career development officers, parents, professors, advisors and contacts in industry)
  • Leading employers can’t, and won’t stop the drive to accumulate the best teams of students possible.

If one accepts the above set of economic factors (improving indicators) and the above set of individual factors(better personal preparation), and the same set of corporate recruitment factors (continuous need to recruit optimal talent), then the winter and spring should shape up to be interesting months for students and employers.

Also, if you inject the following variables:

  1. Improved access to talent pools, given new and emerging talent sourcing media
  2. Social media used to tap pools of talent

The new climate will be reinvigorated, and suddenly more interesting. This new climate of enhanced opportunities and enhanced talent is what we are looking for here at our company. We want to do two things: 1) make talent in universities more accessible, and 2) make corporations more visible to the talent they wish to recruit.

Given the new combinations, we believe the new new will be the new and potentially improved.


About stefan bund

Founder of Next Acropolis. MS in Information Systems and Technology, Claremont Graduate University... Background in software engineering and teaching.
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