Dramatic rise in job offers graces campus

Job offers to students have more than doubled in the past year, CAPS reports.

By Benjamin Pokross

Clue 109 on the Scav list asked students to secure jobs, but more than twice as many jobs have been offered to U of C students this year than last, likely thanks to CAPS.

The University’s Career Advising and Planning Services (CAPS) saw a 189.2-percent increase in full-time job offers to undergraduates this year. Graduate students received a 150 -percent increase in full-time job offers, according to CAPS Senior Associate Director of Employer Relations and Development Marthe Druska.

While job offers fell slightly during the recession, Druska still believes that the current increase is significant. “This is a pretty big spike,” she said. Overall, Druska said, CAPS didn’t see a huge drop in the number of job offers during the recession.

Throughout the year, CAPS has been seeing stronger results among fourth-years. In March, CAPS reported a threefold increase in the number of job offers made to fourth-years compared with the same time last year.

The escalation is consistent with national trends. According to the National Association of College Employment’s “Spring Update,” employers said that they were planning to hire 19.3 percent more graduates in 2010–11 than they did in 2009–10.

There was also a 31.5-percent overall increase in the number of companies recruiting on campus this academic year, according to CAPS Associate Director of Employer Relations and Development Shelia Boysen-Rotelli. In particular, she said, the number of Fortune 500 companies recruiting on campus has increased 62 percent.

Druska cited company visits—such as one paid by the CFO and CEO of Burger King—as examples of the widening range of industries that find U of C students to be attractive job candidates.

These new organizations are also making an attempt to attract students from more diverse majors, Druska added. “They’re casting a very wide net in terms of reaching out to student groups,” she said.

The number of U of C–sponsored internships has also increased over the past year. There are 85 new Metcalf Internships, a 26.9-percent increase from last year.

Druska credits student participation in the “Chicago Careers In” programs and quarterly career fairs as two of the reasons for the increase in job offers. “We’ve had huge amounts of students attending. We had more than 600 at each [of the winter and autumn career fairs],” she said.

Even first-years have been more interested in attending CAPS. As of February 1, the number of first-years coming to CAPS had increased by more than 50 percent from last year.

“Students are starting earlier, both in terms of what year they are in school, and what quarter they come in,” Druska said, citing another reason for student success finding jobs.

Druska emphasized that these new programs and opportunities for students do not distract from the University’s commitment to education for education’s sake.

“I think that the creation of the ‘Chicago Careers In’ Programs allows students to engage in the liberal arts curriculum and be really passionate about what they’re studying,” she said. “At the same time they know that, when they look beyond their time in the college, they know they’ll be supported when they’re pursuing full-time work or graduate and professional school.”