Entry Level Hiring Outlook for 2009


As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve spent the last two weeks revisiting companies and non-profits to see what kind of entry level jobs are currently available. I thought that this would be a nice way to finish out the year, as it would provide a good idea of how the current economic conditions have affected entry level hiring. This was by no means a scientific study, but there were some key takeaways that I discovered after looking at the Jobs pages of 347 companies and non-profit organizations.

I didn’t compile any hard data, because it wouldn’t provide all that much more meaning, and it would have taken a lot more time. Instead, I did a rough estimate of how many companies and non-profits have significantly reduced or completely cut entry level hiring. Of the 250 companies that I looked at, 34% of them had significantly reduced or completely cut entry level hiring. This figure isn’t all that bad when you consider that seasonality (holidays and end of the Fall recruiting season) and randomness have a strong effect on the numbers. You also have to remember that we didn’t make note of how many companies have significantly increased entry level hiring, so the numbers could only go down or, at the best, stay even. Still, 34% is probably a signal that the economic conditions are making it significantly harder to find an entry level job for new and upcoming college grads.

The more surprising number was that just under 50% of the 97 non-profits that we revisited have significantly reduced or completely cut entry level hiring. Although it comes from a much smaller sample size, that’s a big number. I think that it’s quite clear that non-profits are being hit the hardest by the economic downturn. I’ve heard rumblings elsewhere, and I’m seeing it in the job postings that non-profits are finding it a lot more difficult to raise money.

What does this all mean?

  • First of all, there are still a lot of jobs being posted. Companies may not be as aggressive in filling these positions, but at least they’re posting them.
  • If you want to “do good,” then maybe you should look for a for-profit job and consider volunteering.
  • Software development, new/social media, and online advertising are still seeing a lot of growth.
  • Contrary to the previous bullet point, quite a few startups have been forced to cut back on hiring (and have even had to layoff). These companies were previously the most aggressive when it came to hiring.
  • Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is a tough time to be job searching. More people start job searching once the New Year arrives, but companies typically start to hire more too. We should see more jobs posted now than we have seen over the past month and a half. It also helps that companies get new budgets to spend in the New Year.
  • The economy doesn’t matter if you’re a superstar.

Want to develop your inner superstar? Check out our soon to be released job search training course.

In case you missed our recap posts, here are the links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 1 of non-profits, Part 2 of non-profits, Part 3 of non-profits, and Part 4 of non-profits.

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4 responses to “Entry Level Hiring Outlook for 2009”

  1. Alex P. says:

    Great post Willy! I went to my alma-mater’s career center the day after I got laid-off and they too said that hiring should go up a little after the New Year. And I’ve read somewhere else too that you should consider charity work during times of unemployment. Thank you for all of your work on ODOJ this past year, I hope 2009 is just as good.

  2. hey, great article. but this advice makes as much sense as skating on thin ice. ive been looking for entry level work since i got my degree in 2004 with no luck. so i decided to learn a skilled trade in 2006. i still couldnt land anything except a few crummy temp jobs in manufacturing and due to the recession i was laid off.

    in my experience this is the worst time to be graduating from high school and college. not only are employers starting a hiring freeze that prevents them from hiring any new talent, they are doing as much as they can to trim the fat on their current work force. as senior employees cut each others throat to save their own tail.

    employers arent even hiring experienced workers, theres no way theyd choose to hire an entry level employee or an intern over experienced workers – thats how tough it is.

    the best advice i could give the new high school graduates is to first off get into a 4yr university not just any university but your dream school, you want to be happy right? also join a social group, sorority or fraternity and get involved in the community work. that also allows you to network.
    study in the education, health, or government fields and get a degree in one or two of them just in case.
    get experience by volunteering at your local city hall, hospitol or grade school. if you are already voluunteering at these places they would be considered silly to not put you on the payroll once you have your degree.

    to those who are unemployed now trying to get back into the work force you must be patient.
    its a really emotional time right now and even tho no one is acknowledging it we are going to see a massive number of depressed individuals after the recession.
    in order to remain sane you should find a few hobbies, cut wasteful spending, and either plan on going back to school or plan on how you will get ahead in your next position, once you find it.
    stay positive and look to the government for help with your financial needs. unemployment benefits may be extended and increased under the new obama administration to offset the federal tax being taken from unemployment checks.
    the food stamps program has been given a new name its now called SNAP and although it may not pay as much, every little bit helps.

    starting your own business should be a last resort. it seems such awaste to me to be paying for 2 degrees that i cant even use in my day to day work, but if i dont want to drown in debt then im going to have to find something. afterall, it only takes ONE good idea to make me a millionaire.

  3. jumpnjax says:

    I suggest going on to more education to focus on your passion. There are ways to pay for this: fastweb.com, scholarships.com, fafsa. For me, I have experience and a degree. I decided before the collision course over economics hit to jump into a master’s program for structural engineering and don’t feel any regrets. I too found myself laid off in January. I did not cry considering the firm for which I worked was also a “pay to play” Illinois participant. I have been on interviews since and recently was left to wait over a month for a response to be outright told that I did not say what they wanted to hear-meaning, the interviewer, who has been with the same firm for 27 years wanted me to demonstrate extreme passion for being a drafter for bridges ( 1 month later) even though the job description was for a structural engineer with 4 + years of experience. I was further told that they experienced seasoned engineers leaving to pursue their own businesses or another passion in engineering and they, the interviewer, did not want to take a chance with another seasoned engineer. Regardless of how many times the interviewer told me how great I was, how much I would really add to the position, I was told that they, the interviewer, decided to hire entry level applicants with BS and no experience, though this was not in the description for the position posted. Interesting to note, I was also told that they hoped to see me across the table on a project one day! Believe this and don’t forget that education, volunteering and mentoring those beside, and newer to your profession are equally valuable tools. I tell my kids frequently to be thankful for the door that opens and allows you a foot through. For those that don’t, let that rest with them. They started somewhere with the same-lest they forget!!! Build your spine, read and give of your talents. For all the times you are turned down, it may be for the best and there may be reasons for which you would regret having to work in a particularly unhealthy environment. The best could be just around the corner-be patient and keep your chin up!
    been there, weathered that.
    hopefully, they won’t one day be begging me for a job!

  4. Kip says:

    i have two associate degrees and still can’t find work. my latest degree is in graphic art and design. i have designed and registered my designed positive t-shirt and i am now trying to sell them. the company (sea-ray boats )that i was working for closed down several departments and i was one to be let go. i use to design cabinets for their boats etc.
    i also have a problem that holds my back from getting my foot in the door in that i was born with a problem called ocular motor apraxia which causes me to move my head in order to refocus and this helps me to fail interviews. i have been using your site and will continue to do so in hopes of finding work . i am also considering going back to school , maybe for medical billing or message. thank you for your site Bako (kip) sylvester

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