Job Outlook Strong for Young High-tech or Finance Graduates :  Published December 2006 All Rights Reserved


Job Outlook Strong for Young High-tech or Finance Graduates

The good news on the job front: Promising future if you are a teenager or 20-something, and if you are an older professional who avoided IT or engineering layoff. The bad news: If you are now without a professional job and more than 40 years old, there is little hope, (but then you already knew that.)

Computer giant HP and oil giant ExxonMobil both announced new grants and incentives to promote advanced education with young minorities and public institutions. HP will award grants totaling $2.8 million in cash and HP equipment to two-and four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Puerto Rico.

The 2007 HP Technology for Teaching Grant initiative supports the redesign of math, science and engineering courses, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of students graduating with high-tech degrees. In 2006, additional consideration is being given to proposals related to environmental engineering and “green” product design. Public institutions interested in applying for the funds must contact HP.

The ExxonMobil Foundation announced a $270,000 contribution to the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME,) which will be used to support various programs including scholarships for minority engineering students. With this grant, ExxonMobil has provided NACME with more than $10 million in support.

ExxonMobil's support comes at the right time according to Kaplan AEC Education, which calls the need for talented "young" engineers in a "critical" stage. Despite the need -- older professionals will continue to lose out to young professionals in the youth-obsessed corporate culture of the United States.

“The high attrition rate in college engineering programs is especially troubling because there aren’t enough engineers to fill all of the current openings in the United States, and there will be an even greater need as our country and our world face new challenges and rapid advances in technology,” said Frank Cook, co-author of 21 Things Every Future Engineer Should Know: A Practical Guide for Students and Parents.

Attraction, Retention

Cook along with author Pat Remick report that thousands of high school seniors each year choose engineering as their college field of study, but some 50 to 60 percent change majors before graduation.

The trend is what ExxonMobil (at least) hopes to change through its minority scholarship program.

“We are proud of our long-standing partnership with NACME and we value the opportunity to assist outstanding students in their pursuit of an engineering education,” said Steve Simon, senior vice president, Exxon Mobil Corporation, who serves as a NACME board member.

NACME, the nation’s largest private source of scholarships for minority engineers, has provided financial support to more than 20,000 minority engineering students since its inception.

Through its scholarship programs, NACME distributes funds to partner colleges and universities across the country, which then award scholarships to African American, American Indian, and Latino engineering students in their programs. Funds are also used to assist selected institutions in building minority enrollment and improving degree-completion rates.

“ExxonMobil’s thirty-year support of NACME has enabled us to remain at the forefront of the national effort to increase diversity in the country’s engineering and technology workforce,” said John Brooks Slaughter, president and CEO, NACME. “Their consistent commitment of time, money and energy supports our shared goal -– an engineering graduating class that looks like America.”

Authors Cook and Remick cite statistics that show women and minorities, in particular, are not getting the message that engineering offers a myriad of exciting and rewarding opportunities.

“People mistakenly believe that you have to be absolutely brilliant or maybe even a bit of a nerd to be a successful engineer,” says Remick. “While it’s true that you need to enjoy math and science, engineering is primarily about being creative, enjoying problem-solving and having a desire to improve things. It is a lucrative career that doesn’t care about gender, race, or background.”

The book reviews how to explore the various engineering disciplines, discusses optimum curriculum paths, gives ideas on choosing the right college engineering program and succeeding on campus, and suggests how to find employment and  advance in the workplace.

21 Things Every Future Engineer Should Know also discusses practical advice from students who work as intern engineers, proficiency for working in the field, high school guidance and extracurricular activities for all ages to optimize college preparation, college choice discussions, and resources for students.

IT, Financial Sector Future Bright

Kforce Inc., of Tampa, FL, paints a strong economic future in the United States for technology and suggests 9.1 million jobs will be created during the upcoming five years, with 8.6 percent going specifically to IT.

Security and compliance spending will drive a great deal of IT expenditures, according to CMP Media LLC’s Dark Reading. Requirements associated with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, The USA Patriot Act, HIPAA and Basel II continues to drive demand for professionals with compliance backgrounds.

“These guides provide a detailed review of the trends shaping two dominant fields in the U.S. economy,” said David L. Dunkel, Kforce chairman and CEO.

“With unemployment for workers with college degrees falling to a near record low of 1.9 percent, it’s critical for employers and candidates alike to understand the forces that drive the marketplace.”

IT spending in the United States for 2007 is expected to be strongest in the financial sector, consumer markets, and government.

Kforce also suggested that outsourcing is not as detrimental to the workforce moving forward as it was in the beginning (early 2000s,) but all of those professionals who were laid off stand no chance of getting their same job back. New job opportunities will primarily attract recent college grads and young professionals seeking a new career. 

The salary trend for 2007 in IT points to a slightly higher salary, but a drop in cash bonuses.  SAP developers with skills in modules like payroll and HR are among those getting the highest salary premiums.  Among the certified skills with the biggest salary boosts were application development and programming languages. Among non-certified skill areas, workers with enterprise business applications skills got an average premium of 8 percent of base pay.

For the financial sector, of all the issues confronting the accounting profession, staffing ranks as one of the most critical. More skilled accountants are needed in public practices as well as government and nonprofit organizations due in large measure to Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.

Sarbanes-Oxley contributed to a 68 percent increase in corporate finance staffing between 2002 and 2006, according to research by Financial Executives International and Baruch College of New York. The impact has extended beyond public companies, with government agencies and not-for-profit organizations, as more voluntarily abide by the stringent accounting rules.

The demand for qualified professionals is expected to increase in 2007. On the supply side, baby boomer retirements will exacerbate the shortage, a situation that will not be remedied for some time, even with the continuing increases in enrollments in college accounting degree programs.

Employers are urged to step-up their internship programs to recruit new graduates to fill vacancies. Retired professionals too offer a pool of candidates for contract and temporary work. Retention is growing more important Kforce reported, because 65 percent of employees planned to look for new jobs on a rolling average.

“Improving the work environment and the perception of the company among existing employees may yield better results than better benefits in attracting qualified professionals,” said Dunkel. Best practices for retaining staff include developing clear guidelines on promotional requirements, assisting with professional education and recognizing employees’ contributions.

Easier Post Graduate Job Searching

As part of the continuing online consolidation of career websites, once the students earn their degrees searching for a job online just became a little easier.

Monster.com's parent Monster Worldwide secured business relationships with a number of traditional media companies. Monster continues to build significant momentum around its local market strategy by aligning with the North Jersey Media Group, owner of The (Bergen) Record, Herald News and 44 weekly newspapers, as well as the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader (serving Northern Pennsylvania) and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin to introduce co-branded sites featuring the company’s industry-leading products and services.

Monster secured similar relationships with Freedom Communications, a leading privately owned diversified media company. The deal encompasses 36 newspapers across the United States –including The Orange County Register, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO,) and the East Valley Tribune (Mesa, AZ,) and Freedom’s eight television properties.

Monster's services enable media companies to hand-over the job posting tools and cut-back in-house expenses in the face of falling subscriptions and advertising revenue for traditional media.

“Today’s announcement marks another step forward in our localization strategy. Monster continues to pursue small and medium-sized businesses as one of our major areas of growth, and media alliances help us solidify and grow our presence in the regions where these companies are based,” said Doug Klinger, president, Monster North America. “These alliances bring substantial value to both large and small regions as we leverage our combined expertise in their markets across the country.”

Peter Newton, senior vice president and general manager, SMB, Monster said, “Our first media alliance with Philadelphia Media Holdings has yielded strong results to date, including a 25 percent increase in the number of page views recorded on philly.com’s career page, underscoring the synergy that is created when local expertise is coupled with our best-in-class products and services.”

Employers in these markets can easily and cost-effectively implement recruitment strategies utilizing the best combination of print and online advertising. Monster also offers access to the world’s largest resume database, which adds approximately 40,000 new resumes each day. In addition, Monster’s hiring and talent management solutions enable businesses to optimize the recruitment process, saving time and money.

Job seekers in these markets can take advantage of the most advanced search and match technology, presented from a local perspective. Career-focused content, featuring expert advice, and tools such as a resume builder and salary center, will help give job seekers a competitive edge.

Newton said, “Small and medium-sized businesses present a major area of growth for Monster. These alliances establish an immediate foothold in key local markets,  bolstering our creditability with these employers, extending our brand in the cities and regions where they are based and underscoring our relevance among seekers.”

The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader’s co-branded site will launch in the coming weeks. The co-branded sites for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the North Jersey Media Group will be unveiled in January 2007.


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