Job prospects looking slim for graduates

According to the 2011 Campus Recruitment and Benchmark survey completed by The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers, students will have an increasingly difficult time securing employment post graduation in 2012.
The survey does not project an increase in pay, but rather a decline in terms of job availability.

These predictions are consistent with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s growth forecast reduction from 2.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent in late October, as quoted in the survey.

In light of the economic instability south of the border and the financial crises in Europe, the job market appears to be heading towards tougher times, especially if these economic predictions prove to be true.

While there are jobs out there for recent graduates, the competition appears to be stiff. “We have some entry-level positions, where we would hire someone that’s pretty fresh out of school, someone that’s been out of school for a year, or at most two,” said Emily Candy, a human resources advisor for Rogers Publishing, a division of Rogers Media Inc.

“We do have a lot of internship programs, though they’re often unpaid,” continued Candy, explaining that these programs are a great way for students to get experience.

“We have a lot of relationships with post secondary institutions. Experience continues to be a vital underlying factor in the competitive job market.”
Mike Pearce, an environment and business student at the University of Waterloo, chose to be enrolled in the school’s extensive co-op program for that very reason.

“The federal government even helps out small businesses by subsidizing our wages, so a co-op placement is definitely mutually beneficial for businesses and for us, since we also get paid experience,” he said.

Co-op programs exist in post secondary institutions throughout the country and can prove to be valuable when it comes time to finding a career just on the basis of experience being a definite asset.

Jan Basso, the director for Co-operative Education and Career Development Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University, explained in an interview that they have been experiencing tougher times helping students find employment in recent years.
“The absolute best year we ever had was 2008, historically, and then it definitely dipped in 2009, but in 2010 and in 2011 it came back up.”

While the employment climate does appear bleak, Basso explained that there are optimistic numbers coming out of the WLU Career Development Centre.
“The job postings that we’re processing now represent increases over last years, so we’re not seeing a decline at all.

“Try and come up with some career decisions that are going to match your needs as a person, and then look at the career resources that are available,” Basso offered as further advice.

“Then from there, you can look at how you can prepare yourself for the job search, so resumé writing, interview skills, how you network, doing informational interviews with organizations — and all of those relate to programs that we offer.”
While there may be tough times ahead, Basso pointed at the plenty of programs that are in place to help students try and weather the storm.

“The job fair we held in the fall, we had 250 companies, so there’s still a lot of recruitment activity out there.”

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