/ Modified may 10, 2011 12:28 p.m.

Episode 17: Jobs Picture Improves for College Grads

Arizona universities report increased recruitment activities by employers big and small

Employers are recruiting college graduates in Arizona at a greater pace than in the last several years, career service officials at all three state universities say.

The Class of 2011 is also seeing higher salary offers, especially in business, according to statistics from the University of Arizona's Career Services agency. At Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, increased recruitment activity and job offers also have been recorded.

"After a long economic downturn, I'm happy that we're starting to see things look up," said Eileen McGarry, director of Career Services at the UA. "From a national perspective, surveys are showing employers are projecting 19-20 percent increases in hiring."

At the UA, students obtaining their master's degrees in business administration this spring are getting job offers averaging $86,000 in annual salary, up from $70,000 a year ago, Eller College of Management Career Management Director Jennifer Bublitz told Arizona Public Media's Andrea Kelly.

McGarry and her ASU counterpart, Elaine Stover, spoke in separate interviews for Arizona Week's Friday broadcast. Stover said activity at ASU has shown improvement in on-campus recruiting.

"We've had double-digit increases in the number of jobs posted" to the school's jobs website, Stover said. "Most recently, for the month of April, we had a 34 percent increase just from April of 2010. We've also seen an increase in the number of employers who have attended our career events."

At NAU, the assistant director of the Gateway Student Success Center said increased activity was noted this school year among schools seeking teachers and big companies in the hospitality industry. Both education and hospitality management are highly regarded programs on the Flagstaff campus.

"School districts are coming around asking for students who will get their education degrees," Monica Bai said. "There was not a whole lot of demand in education. It went on hold, and we took a hit during the worst of it a couple of years ago. But it has slowly begun to come back."

At all three campuses, officials said flexibility is one key to finding jobs, meaning students should consider moving out of state for the right job. At the same time, the majority of graduates are able to find work in Arizona, they said.

At ASU, 80.1 percent of students receiving undergraduate degrees and 62.9 prcent of graduate students earning degrees last year stayed in state. Comparable figures for UA and NAU weren't immediately available.

The state's three public universities will graduate more than 21,000 students next week, the largest group ever.

Reporter Michael Chihak further explores young graduates' job prospects and possibilities on Arizona Week. Watch here.

Employers are recruiting college graduates in Arizona at a greater pace than in the last several years, career service officials at all three state universities say.

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