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Recruiting up

Joanna Dornfeld (The Maneater via U-WIRE)/COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Even as the economy slows, employers are recruiting college graduates in increasing numbers, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

According to a survey performed by the association, employers expect to hire 18.4 percent more college graduates in 2000-2001 than in 1999-2000.

Overall recruitment in the University of Missouri's College of Business is marginally lower this semester, said Karen Shelton, director of career services for the College of Business.

"That would tell you if industries have cut back, other industries have stepped forward," she said. "There are always industries that do well in times like these."

Some experts say the slowing economy is not affecting specific types of employers.

"It (doesn't) seem to be hitting any particular industry," said Mimi Collins, spokeswoman for National Association for Colleges and Employers.

Jennifer Wilford, assistant director of career services for the School of Journalism, said students graduating in May or December could have a difficult time finding employment.

Because employers are hiring fewer people than predicted, there is higher competition for jobs.

"Students need to be on their toes," Collins said.

Employers recruit college graduates rather than high school graduates because employers assume college graduates will be better employees, said Linda Kaiser, director of career and program support for the College of Education.

"I think that there is an assumption of quality," she said. "College is that polishing factor."

College graduates have less experience than people who have been in the work force for a number of years, Collins said.

When employers visit colleges to interview students for internships, they also are making contacts with potential employees.

"Relationships are important regardless of whether they have open positions or not," Wilford said.

In some industries, a master's degree can lead to positions with a higher starting salary. For example, a master's degree in engineering would open doors for jobs in research as opposed to jobs in design and development, said Robert Jones, director of career services at the College of Engineering.

Because computer engineering is a technical field, there are fewer people who can do the job, making engineers well-paid, said Jane Burcham, an undergraduate adviser in the College of Engineering.

"The companies have found they must pay these salaries to get top-quality students," Jones said.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree in psychology have a much lower starting salary because they usually are hired for entry-level positions, said Andrew Beckett, academic adviser for psychological sciences.

"That is kind of the way the job market falls," Beckett said.

(c) 2001 The Maneater via U-WIRE

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