A recent survey of staffing firms by Staffing Industry Analysts, Inc., regarding the importance of various sources to recruit contractors or temporary employees, revealed some interesting results. Referrals, databases, former contacts and job boards came up as the top four recruiting tools. Recruiting from colleges and universities was at the bottom of the long list of sources.
This finding left me scratching my head. I went back to the report to check if the order of importance was different for different segments of staffing. The answer was no. They were quite uniform across the board, even for segments such as IT and tech/engineering, where I keep hearing how tight the labor market is.
I realize that clients are asking for experienced professionals or for specific skills in certain verticals. But still, is there no one looking to hire fresh graduates? A recent survey of U.S. college undergraduates indicates the interest of undergraduates in computer science major is at the lowest since 1995 even though the employment growth rate in the computer science and mathematics jobs was a remarkable 3.7% in 2007.
Without getting into the details of the study (see the link below for the full Insight), when I talked to the author of the study he emphasized how it is incumbent on both the universities and the industry to reignite student's interest in computer science and to convince them that despite the talks about jobs going offshore, there are indeed enough highly paid IT jobs available within the United States.
Perhaps staffing firms should step in and take the lead. University students are always looking for some extra income, and working on a temporary job offers them both money and solid experience to put on their resume. And if they do the job well, there is always the chance of converting the temporary assignment to a fulltime job. In my opinion, it's a win-win situation for staffing companies. You tap into a big workforce that is eager to gain hands-on experience and you establish your brand as a socially responsible entity and effective job source. Not to forget that, once these students graduate, they will remember the staffing firm that helped them out during their student days and quite possibly head to your office to launch them into their chosen career.