Home Fairfield Job market improving for recent college grads

Job market improving for recent college grads


The Business Journal last week spoke with Terrence Keppler, branch manager at the White Plains office of Robert Half International, a global staffing firm, about how the job market is shaping up for recent graduates and for the Class of 2012.


As follows are excerpts from the conversation:

How has the job market treated recent graduates?

Terrence Keppler: “It has remained very competitive. The market is beginning to pick up and has for recent graduates compared to two years ago, when it was much more challenging, but jobs are opening up specifically within this market – Westchester, Fairfield, really the tristate area.”


How is the job market shaping up for the class of 2012?

“I think it’s going to be very similar to what we saw this past year. Over the last few years, clients have waited a little bit longer in their search efforts in terms of making a decision. Most students are graduating in early to mid-May, and many (employers) are starting to look at where they are through (the second quarter) and what type of demand there is at that point.

“I’ve seen in the past few years that it’s been more the April-May time frame when clients are making that final decision on who they are going to hire. I think that’s a direct result of the downturn from prior years.”


Has there been an increase (or decrease) in entry-level employment opportunities for recent graduates in the Westchester County and Fairfield County region?
“In the Westchester market (and) the Fairfield market we’ve seen an increase within the last year. I would say the graduating class of 2010 fared much better than the graduating classes of two years prior, 2008 and 2009. I think many clients are looking at individuals who have good communication skills, are detail oriented, may have some prior internship experience and who can come in and hit the ground running for them.”


What majors are most in-demand in Westchester and Fairfield counties?

“At least within this market, accounting and finance is in high demand. (There is demand for a) general business degree. (There are) health care-related opportunities. And then there is IT.

“As it relates to accounting and finance, (companies are looking for) credit and collection specialists, entry level and staff accountants. For IT, (companies are looking for) help desk and desktop support professionals. And then administrative and health care professionals (are being sought out) as well.”


What trends stand out in the local job market?

“If you look at unemployment nationally for the last month, it was at nine percent or above. But for people with college degrees in the area, you’re looking at unemployment of 4.4 percent, so (unemployment) is fairly low and has been decreasing the last few months.”


Has there been an increase in temporary-to-permanent hiring?

“You could refer to it as a temporary-to-hire scenario. We saw a pick-up in demand for this type of scenario at the end of last summer, and typically the temporary side of the business is what leads out of a downturn and that’s proven to be the case out of this recession as well.

“Temporary-to-permanent employment has been very common throughout all industries, specifically in accounting, finance administrative and IT. And candidates have become open to the idea as well; both parties are trying each other out to see if it’s the right long-term fit.”


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