Considering the current hot dot-com climate, it comes as no surprise that
college graduates are exposed to a wealth of opportunity. But, according to
a study conducted by career resource site WetFeet.com, some college graduates are
ignoring the Internet boom, opting for more “traditional”
WetFeet.com Co-Founder Steve Pollock said a new nationwide survey of 869 students conducted by his firm showed an increasing number are opting for jobs with management consultants, such as Arthur Andersen or top-tier investment banks.
Two-thirds of the students who participated in the WetFeet.com study made
these choices despite calling Internet-related ventures as the “hottest”
industry around. While 18 percent of respondents indicated they are
interested in working for Internet-related companies, the majority would
rather work in careers such as management consulting (44 percent) and
investment banking (25 percent) that
were perceived to provide solid training, mentoring and business
credentials, establishing a foundation for future career moves.
What does this mean? Pollock said students are basing their choices on the
longevity of the company — preferring a venerable firm with a noted leader
over a start-up with looming question marks as how prepared they will be
when it comes time to make a company shift. He and his company also found
that training outranked dot-com incentives such as stock options, and was
also rated much more important than quality of life considerations such as
the ability to dress casually, have a personal office and take weekends off.
With a strong job market and students receiving an average of 3.3 job
offers up from 2.9 last year hiring the best graduates is one of the biggest
challenges facing corporations today.
Pollock said part of the reason has to do with the way firms market
themselves to students on college campuses.
“Graduates are certainly not ignoring the Internet sector,” Pollock said.
“In fact, many students will go on to jobs in that sector. What we found, is
that the perennial companies are great at attracting students. They’ve been
recruiting on campuses for years.”
What the study found was that e-business consulting was rated as the second
most desirable career and was also listed as the second hottest industry,
presenting the “best of both worlds” for students looking for the training
and career foundation provided by a
consulting organization, and Internet experience coveted at dot coms.
“Despite the stories about people dropping out of school to pursue IPO
glory, our research shows that students are being surprisingly thoughtful
and careful about choosing their first job,” Pollock said. “These results underscore our belief that
graduates aren’t all chasing the gold rush; most are seeking jobs that offer
a challenging assignment, great colleagues and strong career development
“The Internet has made significant inroads into the management onsulting and
investment banks,” Ramberg said. “With the explosion of the Internet and
highly publicized success of thousands of start-up ventures, more and more
graduating seniors are opting to take a chance, and worst case scenario,
come away with a lot of hands-on experience.”
In a survey of 3,000 college students, Jobtrak.com found that 31 percent
desired to find placement at Fortune 1000 firms. The remaining 69 percent
desire to work either for themselves, start-ups or medium-sized firms.
Ramberg said that even if a company fa
lls on its face, the workers can go to
other firms with a lot of hands-on experience. He agreed with Pollock that
quality of life is a major issue for incoming talent. He said flexible
hours, as opposed to the time-honored 9-to-5 custom, is popular.
Through it all, Pollock acknowledges that the hiring process has gotten a
lot tougher for companies.
“It’s like a black box,” Pollock said. “There has been such a shift in the
balance in power from the companies to the recruits. Hiring used to be like
colleges. A student would send his or her application and wait to hear back.
That’s what it used to be like for companies. Now recruits have a lot more
power because there is tremendous competition for talent.”