The B Word

I wanted to take a second to point out some peculiarities of my day today, before I go on vacation.

There was a big accident in the middle of college ave. today, causing traffic delays for cars and pedestrians alike. It looked like some people were severely injured, so I hope they're ok.

The Stealthcat Productions blog was marked as spam by Blogger. There wasn't anything particularly spammy about the blog, so I'm really curious what they're algorithm for spam detection is.

I'm listening to This American Life on the current economic crisis, trying to get a better understanding of this massive BAILOUT. What's peculiar about this is I've been getting emails like this from the engineering department:

We in Engineering Career Services have sensed a general anxiety among students about the economy and the availability of jobs.

We are not fortune-tellers, but from what we see at this time, it does not appear that the problems plaguing the financial and housing market sectors are having a major impact on the continuing need for engineers in traditional industries.

We in Career Services and our employer partners are perplexed to note a significant downturn in student applications (resume submissions) this year over last -- in some cases, resumes submitted to specific employers have been down by 80% or more -- both for large companies and smaller firms. We are hearing from employer after employer that they anticipate hundreds of engineering jobs to be filled this year, and they hope to fill many of those openings with cornell engineers.

It appears at this time that traditional engineering jobs will still be plentiful at the entry level, even if the total need slips by a few percentage points. In addition to energy (you can expect this sector to boom, regardless of who becomes our next president!), and defense, the need for engineers in most traditional industries is not likely to diminish much -- unlike the recession in the early 2000s, today's problems do not stem from the technical sector -- however, students seeking careers in the financial or related sectors may see some greater retraction as those industries reorganize. It is uncertain at this time how much of that downturn might spread to consulting and other business application industries, but recruiting by those industries has been fairly comparable to previous years.

As for on-campus recruiting, for many employers, not enough resumes are being submitted to even fill an interview schedule, and employers are cancelling schedules, not because they don't have jobs, but because they don't have enough applicants to warrant a trip to Ithaca.

As of this writing, the employers visiting campus DO have plenty of jobs they would like to fill with Cornell graduates. They learned lessons from the previous downturn to not overhire, and to not raise expectations by recruiting on campus when there are few jobs to fill.

They even emboldened the important points the letter in case you'd rather not read the whole thing. Offhand I find this letter quite amusing. The fact that our career services center staff "are not fortune tellers", the idea students have that this is just like the dot com boom, and the career center trying to allay our fears.

I think the most interesting part is that we have all these fears and no facts. And that maybe if we did have the facts, there wouldn't be as much fear. I wonder if this low recruitment rate is happening in other colleges.

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