Students concerned with job security as fewer job prospects await after graduation

Job placement is looming large in the eyes of many soon-to-be graduates.

In the current economy, students may not have their ideal occupations waiting for them. While students may be more flexible in their potential career options, a study by KPMG LLP states that there is one aspect to a career that students will not compromise: job security.

KPMG LLP, a U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, recently surveyed 350 college students on their prospective careers and the characteristics they seek in potential employers. According to the survey, job security is the primary concern of 75 percent of surveyed students.

Kathy Schaum, director of University Relations and Recruiting at KPMG, said in an e-mail that employers should shape their businesses so that prospective employees grow in their time with the company.

“Based on the survey results and from our interactions with students, it’s clear that student priorities include finding positions that help them build a career and create opportunities for future growth,” she said. “We know that new employees look at the career value proposition and employers must offer a challenging and rewarding career path to retain them.”

Despite heavy concerns with job security, students are not necessarily taking extra precautions, according to Katie Flint, an assistant director of the University’s Career Center.

“The use of our resources has fluctuated. You think you would see a spike, but it’s not the case,” she said. “You see apathy on the part of the students in this tough economy. They are discouraged.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, college enrollment reached an all-time high in 2008 due to the recession. This means there are more qualified college graduates applying for fewer positions.

Iman Sharabash, sophomore in LAS, said she knows students who are still searching for jobs for when they graduate.

“I know a few people graduating in May,” Sharabash said. “One of them has a job waiting for her, others are at least looking for one.”

With competition on the rise, job candidates are becoming more flexible in what they can and are willing to do. KPMG’s survey results convey that 50 percent would be open to working internationally and 67 percent would work for a nonprofit or public organization immediately after graduation due to the state of the economy.

Though there are fewer job opportunities for recent college graduates, students still have numerous tools at their disposal to prepare them for what may be turbulent times ahead.

“We have so many resources the students can utilize, (such as) resume critiques, mock interviews and lots of workshops,” Flint said. “We provide students with ways of presenting themselves and seeking jobs that they may not have thought of on their own.”

With the use of these tools, students can gain the faith in their abilities that Sharabash said she believes to be essential in landing a job.

“I think that confidence is the best thing to have. Even today, people can’t look desperate but should be confident in their skill level and competency,” she said. “Overall, they need to be confident that they can get it.”