What Will It Take For College Graduates to Get An Entry Level Job? An Interview With Gerry Crispin
Gerry Crispin is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and thought leader. He seeks to understand how firms design and build staffing processes, the technology to enhance them and the systems to manage them. A founder of the CareerXroads Colloquium and The Talent Board, Gerry critically analyzes corporate recruiting issues, including entry-level and internship hiring, from a tactical yet strategic perspective.
I came to know Gerry while working with college career development centers in my past life. Having followed him on LinkedIn since then, I asked if he would talk with me about how entry-level and internship hiring has changed over the over the past four years .
Have larger employers stepped up or reduced their entry-level hiring since 2016, the year that the current graduating seniors were freshmen?
Sixty to 75 percent of larger employers are expanding their entry level hiring. Only a very small percentage are decreasing. The war is back on for quality talent, especially in technology.
Are there specific industries that have stepped up or reduced their entry-level hiring needs? Are there specific industries that have stepped up or reduced their need for interns?
No industry is reducing it’s hiring needs, unless it’s becoming an obsolete industry, like coal. Almost any other industry is a technology industry for good or ill. A hospital, for example, helps people to get better. But it has more needs that are technology based. It needs technology not only to help people get better, but also to manage and express data. Retail businesses such as Walmart are changing the ways that they sell and communicate, also by using technology.
Which majors have you noticed the most demand for entry-level talent?
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) still lead the way. Finance and accounting are also critical needs.
Has the bar been raised higher in terms of GPA, academic and internship experiences since 2016?
Its multiple times more difficult to find an entry-level job if you have not had an internship. Most employers are looking to hire their interns for full-time positions. Freshmen, sophomores are already starting to look for internships. If you are wait until late in the junior year or senior year for your first internship, that’s too late to start.
If a college student is not interested in declaring a high-demand major such as Accounting, Computer Science or Engineering, what skill set should s/he try to develop through courses or extra-curricular activities?
Whatever their major, they should pursue their passions. But they should also learn to master tools that they might be using on the job.
If you met a student who was going to be a freshman in college who was undecided between a liberal arts major and a business or engineering program, what would you advise them to do?
Think earlier, not so much to decide about the career, but to gather experiences that will help you to earn your first entry-level job. More teenagers are beginning college with no work experience, not even summer jobs.
Will more college students be pressured to take unpaid internships, or will more employers who have managed not to pay interns be forced to pay them?
Unpaid internships are unethical and wrong, and sometimes discriminatory or illegal. There are also many programs that are abusive in marketing unpaid internships where the student pays for the work experience. Fortune 500 companies would not be caught dead with unpaid interns. But small firms in fields like advertising still use them.
But the probability of finding a full time job from an unpaid internship is probably one-quarter of what it would be from a paid internship. A large firm will not value your work at an unpaid internship.
In your opinion, should easy access to job markets become a more important factor for high school students to choose a college?
After they visit the admissions office they should go to the alumni office and the career development center. Find out where the most recent graduates went to work. There’s a tendency, for example, for New York employers to come to Stevens Institute of Technology (in Hoboken, New Jersey), but Microsoft and Google are also coming there. But there are also colleges that are more local, and not major universities, that struggle to help their students find work. Recognition for those schools may be a long ways away.
Gerry Crispin has a wide range of experience from HR leadership positions at Johnson and Johnson; to boutique Executive Search firms; a Career Services Director at the university where he received his Engineering and two advanced degrees in Organizational/Industrial Behavior; and, GM of a major recruitment advertising firm. For more information about the CareerXroads Colloquium visit https://cxr.works