By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
We spoke with four experts who analyzed the local job market for college students who are graduating this semester. Here’s what they had to say:
From Gary Morris, director, Career Services, SUNY Oswego:
• “I like to say that all areas look good to our graduates, which probably sounds obnoxious. We’ve seen the job market on fire and at a standstill. But we don’t let the job market slow us down, good or bad. You have to sprinkle reality in, but we don’t put a lot of stock in how the job market is. If you find something you love to do, you’ll find a way to do it.
• “It’s interesting. There are some growth areas. Healthcare is still up there. It wasn’t quite as hot in 2017 as people thought it would be in 2016, but it’s still near the top of the list.
• “Education is up there as well. Retirement-age teachers moving on influence this. Over the past two to three years, we’ve seen huge growth for schools hiring, a 200 percent increase over three years ago. It will take a while for the educational programs at colleges to keep up with demand. It was a tough job market around here in education for a few years, so people stopped entering the teaching field. Now the job market is roaring back and we have a deficit of teachers to fill those slots. I have a flyer from a school district in Virginia. They said to come on down, even to practice interviewing.
• “Energy and environmental systems is near the top of list. If you are interested in trades work, like HVAC, masonry, there are many, many jobs out there that pay well.
• “Banking and finance shows greater than expected growth from the year before.
• “If you look at raw numbers, the government is about the biggest employer, local and state offices and services, and they have the highest salaries, too.
From Karen Knapik-Scalzo, associate economist, NY Department of Labor, Central New York field office:
• “In our most recent data, we have 3,500 more people employed in October 2017, compared with October 2016. We’ve seen positive trends in jobless numbers and positive trends in the total number of jobs. We have 2,300 more non-farm jobs in our Syracuse metro area economy in October 2017 compared with a year ago.
• “We’ve seen job growth across a broad spectrum of industries, like business services, manufacturing, hospitality and health services. Those are our strongest sectors.
• “Employers are seeking qualified candidates and we’ve been hearing from local businesses that are looking for people at all skill levels, from entry level to mid-level and high level skills across all industries. It’s a very strong job market for students graduating.
• “We have employers looking for engineers, supervisors and research and development professionals.”
From Dan Sanderson, director of strategic planning at CPS Recruitment, Liverpool:
• “It’s a positive job market, but they need to have proper expectations. They won’t get a six-figure job first thing out of college, but there are great opportunities for people with a good attitude and a track record for following through with things like finishing their degree and internships. The prospects are very strong.
• “When companies are looking to fill holes with people who’d ordinarily have three to four years’ experience, an internship helps college graduates bridge that gap. They should get a year or two of interning under their belt.”
From Michael DeCarr, account executive at CPS Recruitment, Liverpool:
• “There’s definitely a lot of growth among a lot of companies we’re working with. It’s definitely a candidate’s market, which helps college grads. Put in the time, and do some good work. It opens up a lot of opportunities.
• “We’ve got some pretty high demand in IT and health care.”