Job prospects better for class of 2013 grads: Survey

Engineering, banking and finance positions in greatest demand

College and university graduates from the class of 2013 will find an improving job market, especially if they’ve mastered core skills such as teamwork and problem-solving, and are involved in campus activities outside the classroom, according to a recent survey.

Core skills including communication, analytical ability and a strong work ethic, are most valued by employers, found the survey of 450 Canadian employers by the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

They also place a slightly higher premium on co-curricular involvement than academic performance, meaning that a well-rounded graduate will have an advantage in the competitive job market, found the Campus Recruitment & Benchmark Survey Report.

While the overall amount of on-campus employee recruitment will increase, as will the number of offers nationally, there will be a drop in Ontario and British Columbia.

According to the report, many employers were unable to fill the positions they had open this past year. Of the total, 25 per cent of vacant positions were for engineers, while nearly 20 per cent were in banking and finance.

“These vacant positions are clustered in sectors that are critical to our national economic success, so they may be having a negative effect on productivity,” said Paul Smith, the CACEE’s executive director. “We have graduates who can’t find work and employers who can’t find workers, and that is a waste of talent we can’t afford. We have a case of mismatched supply and demand, and it needs to be addressed.”

While there is good news for those looking for careers in arts, entertainment and recreation (sectors showing the greatest growth in positions offered to new graduates this year), the average wage for new university graduate recruits in Canada was down by five per cent this year over last, at $51,014, and starting salaries for new graduate hires are not expected to increase significantly in the coming year, found the report.

“In 2013, employers will be looking for graduates who have combined out-of-class activities with academic performance,” said Smith. “And applicants who have related work experience will be stars. Good grades are important, but so is balance.”

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