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Release: Immediate

UI reports record interest from job recruiters for 1997-98 season

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The potential job market for University of Iowa undergraduates, law students and business graduate students is booming, with record numbers of recruiters coming to campus to interview students this fall, placement officials report.

The fall 1997 recruiting season is shaping up as one of the best markets for students in recent memory, says Deanna Hurst, director of the UI Business and Liberal Arts Placement Center.

As of Sept. 19, a total of 173 companies and organizations have signed up to recruit students on campus. The list includes several companies that have not recruited at the UI before as well as several companies that have returned to campus after curtailing their recruiting activities for the past few years.

About 155 recruiters were on campus for the entire fall semester in 1996.

"We are significantly higher than we were last fall," Hurst says. "That translates into a good market for graduates who will be looking for jobs in 1997-98."

For graduating students looking for careers in business, engineering and law, the fall semester is the prime recruiting season of the academic year. Companies set up initial interviews and make contact with students in the fall; hiring decisions are made during the school year, pegged to spring graduation.

One highlight of the fall season is the annual Careers Day, an informational job fair for all students, which will be Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Hurst says students are benefiting from a strong economy and record low unemployment rates in Iowa and across the country, making job-hunting more of "sellers' market" than it has been for a long time.

"With a strong economy comes a strong job market for new graduates and our students are reaping the benefits of that," Hurst says.

The 1997 market is especially good for students in computer science and management information systems, Hurst says. There is also a strong demand from business consulting firms -- which hire students from the liberal arts as well as business backgrounds -- and from banking and financial services companies.

But Hurst cautions that many students will have to look a little harder for their job of choice. Advertising and public relations, for example, continue to be very competitive markets.

Brian Lewis, placement director for the UI College of Law, says law students are also benefiting from the economic good news. A slow market for law graduates in the early 1990s has rebounded dramatically, he says.

As of Sept. 19, a total of 125 recruiters have signed up to interview Iowa law students. That's roughly a 9 percent increase from the same time last year, when 115 recruiters were on campus.

The demand has been so great that job interviews were held on a Saturday (Sept. 20) for the first time in decades, Lewis says.

Typically, law firms recruit students in their second year of law school for summer jobs and then hire new graduates from students who worked for the firm the previous summer. But Lewis says this year more firms are interested in talking to third-year students as well.

"There are a lot of opportunities out there right now for law students," Lewis says.

Rebecca Anthony, teacher placement coordinator for the Educational Placement Office, says demand is also expected to be high for new teachers next spring, when the bulk of school recruiting takes place.

Early retirement incentives in a number of states, as well as new proposals to raise teacher salaries are fueling demand for teachers, Anthony says. Although the Midwest market continues to be tight, teachers willing to move have an increasing number of opportunities.

"The job market is opening up," Anthony says. "This is really a very healthy job market."

Hurst says there is also a growing trend by companies to try to tap into the alumni of educational institutions such as the UI. The Business and Liberal Arts Placement Center is collaborating with the UI Alumni Association on "JobTrak," a national online resource listing career opportunities nationwide.

"Companies are being more and more creative in finding potential employees," Hurst says.