Career Watch: Hiring landscape dims for this year's grads

Grads: A Splash of Cold Water

Hiring projections for new graduates are down (see below), and those grads who do get interviews need to focus on the basics. According to HR consulting firm Adecco, 34% of the 500 managers it surveyed said that the inability to directly and clearly answer questions and articulate skills and experience during an interview was a common reason not to hire people between the ages of 18 and 24.

Big mistakes that respondents have seen this group make during interviews include the following:

Showing up late or on the wrong day (44%)

Failing to make eye contact (33%)

Checking their phones or texting (30%)

Fidgeting (26%)

Exhibiting poor posture (22%)

Grads' Prospects by the Numbers

• 2.1%

Employers expect their hiring of new college graduates in 2013 to increase 2.1 % compared with a year earlier. Just last fall, they were projecting a 13% increase this year.

Source: National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook survey of 196 NACE members, February - March 2013

• 4.3%

Meanwhile, the average salary for newly graduated computer science majors has climbed 4.3% from a year earlier, to $59,977.

Source: NACE's April 2013 Salary Survey, based on a compilation of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau and a master set of data developed by Job Search Intelligence

• 66%

That's the percentage of hiring managers who say they don't believe that new college graduates are prepared for the workforce.

Source: Adecco Way to Work telephone survey of 500 hiring managers, March 2013

Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader: Sonya Christian

The CIO at West Georgia Health answers questions about the major issues facing IT in the coming year, and more.

What major issues should IT departments be planning to address in the coming year? I see three -- and IT should not just be planning to address them this year, but probably should already have a strategy in place for each.

  • The first is mobile device integration. How does the use of mobile devices impact the way your users access their applications? Do you have a position on BYOD (bring-your-own-device policies)? Do you offer your software via a downloadable mobile application? End users are more and more savvy and wish to use one device to cover both personal and business computing needs. Does your organization promote or prohibit this?
  • The second is cloud computing. Most organizations are using some type of cloud system, either private, public or hybrid of some type. Does your cloud infrastructure best support the needs of your organization? Are you exposing confidential, proprietary information by hosting it in a public cloud? Conversely, are you paying too much for a private cloud infrastructure to house data that could be kept with a public host?
  • And finally, there's business development. Are you leveraging your technology to bring new opportunities to your organization? IT should not only be aligned with organizational goals, but should also be a key player in developing new and emerging strategies for your organization.

I've been a software engineer for a few years now but wonder which path is more promising: analyst or developer? I believe that both paths have ample room for career advancement. However, I would argue that an individual with a combination of both talent pools will have the inside track. New applications are being developed all the time, particularly in the mobile environment. A good analyst knows how to translate and communicate the needs of the customer. Someone with development skills can take those needs and create applications that benefit the business. Someone who has skills in both arenas can help remove barriers and move projects forward quickly.

I have just earned a BS in computer science and am eager to put it to use. So far, the offers I've received are low-paying and otherwise uninteresting. Is this normal? I would encourage you to look for opportunities in a growing business, one that's in its early to middle life. Seek to partner your technical skills with business expertise. Most organizations are looking for someone who can help the organization grow. Technical skills are often outsourced to offshore resources. It's those "extra" skills that make you truly valuable to your company.

If you have a question for one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to askaleader@computerworld.com, and watch for this column each month.

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