Never Waste a Good Crisis: How College Recruiting Will Reinvent Itself — and the Economy, Simultaneously

My belief that the genesis of a dynamic, highly productive economy results from industry’s relationship to academia is a major driver in my business. My experience working in dynamic locales in California and Michigan have helped me understand the vital linkage between globally competitive industries and the role they play in shaping the academic curricula in local schools. Why not? The caliber of employable graduates directly shapes the viability of firms competitive behavior, as human capital shapes any given business. If this were not true, one would not witness the gang-rush of major corporations to set up shop every spring, attempting to corral students in their direction. Creating a well-prepared base of human capital is the key to remaining agile in any shifting marketplace.

As a recent leading commentator put it, we are in a slow economic cycle as it pertains to graduate recruitment, and it’s exactly this down cycle that will reinvent the way we absorb new hires from education. I personally have also witnessed the tendency of corporations to saddle recent graduates with job roles that used to be assigned to more seasoned professionals, given the advance of strategic information systems that can mine data more effectively, and put more actionable data into the hands of subnumeraries. This is but one example of how organizations can gain productivity by employing capable students out of school. Insofar as a company puts a strong program of training and cultivation in-place, employees can be expected to deliver high-level results.

The tendency to favor more-seasoned employees in dry employment markets such as this one have their limits. It is true that the aging of the baby boomer population still looms in the distance, and will increasingly take effect. For hard-charging corporate endeavors, the older employee will opt-out of lifestyle-inhibiting work. It will always be best to assign high-adrenaline work to the youth. No company misunderstands this; but given the wealth of talent emerging from universities right now (basically the children of the boomers), adopting a managerial scheme to cultivate high-productivity young employees will absolutely yield rich results. In the down economic cycle (sluggish growth, absent credit and lending), crafting a labor force with low overhead is not optional.

University recruiting is going to increase in 2011. All numbers suggest a double digit increase in many areas (MSU CERI, NACE). This represents only a facet of a larger macroeconomic trend that favors educated employees (GU CEW). Combined with the above-mentioned boomer successionary crisis set to hit soon, firms may well be preparing to launch their own hybridized work process, wherein younger, high-energy hires are expected to play a role. The industrial giants in software, high-tech and defense sectors hire in this pattern, traditionally. And plan to do so in 2011, as well. Though the Kauffman foundation will support a world-view where big corporations are job destroyers, and that startups generate job growth, 2011 will exhibit positive recruiting from the largest entities, as well as fast-expanding new initiatives (Startups, most certainly). We are perennial fanboys of KF, no doubt, but as I’ve intimated on this blog before, it stands to reason that cash-hoarding large firms will have the potential to act entrepreneurially, in tandem to venture-backed small firms.

We believe that economic growth can and will come from the startup sector, where news is good. In Silicon Valley, internet startups are healthily absorbing small packages of new capital, exhibiting vastly better capability to stand on their own after brief incubation periods. We hope that the streamlining of web startups such as ours will help return the US and other tech-savvy countries to the higher employment profiles of the Clinton 90’s. Trying to reduce middle class tax rates will serve this country well, as it did then. Today’s visit by Clinton to the White House may not give the markets the bump as expected (Clinton is a bit of a albatross to spectators outside Democrat circles).

As the Rahm Emmanuel said, . Though this statement is unfortunate and easily misconstrued, the notion that we can leverage the moment to both build more employable grads, improve corporate productivity, and do both sustainably is a real prospect. We are working to make the new normal the New American Paradigm, one that fosters:

  • seamless cooperation between industry and students in universities
  • global leadership through employee development
  • the most productive companies on earth, bar-none
  • moving beyond low-education work, to high-education work, attainable by anyone
  • highly effective educational institutions, who operate efficiently, with high accountability to the public trust

Enabling university students to receive direct stimulation from employers is an important first step. This will be made possible through describing what one knows, and receiving news, blogs and communications from members of industry who can mentor them at a distance. This will have a direct shaping effect on what a student does in his or her research work in every course, and result in a slow but certain path to positive matriculation.

We can’t wait to begin!

Stefan Bund, CEO

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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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