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Six Tough Job Openings That Business Schools Can Help Fill


Posted August 09, 2016 by Tony Lee - Vice President, Editorial - SHRM

Recruiters who visit your campus in the hopes of hiring the best and brightest candidates have found it to be a massive challenge this year, no matter the size or location of their companies. Unfortunately for most recruiters, attracting the Class of 2017 is shaping up to be even tougher as corporate pressure mounts to attract candidates who match the skill sets most in demand.

While there’s no magic bullet to slay this dragon, graduate business schools can take steps to help recruiters with their talent acquisition strategies. That includes encouraging recruiters to look beyond the obvious candidates and think more broadly about who would make a great fit.

“We’ve found that becoming more flexible in what we seek can make a big difference,” said Michael Kannisto, global director of talent acquisition at New York City-based International Flavors & Fragrances. “We’re looking beyond the obvious options to candidates in adjacent industries and related functions who have similar skill sets,” and then training those new hires in the specifics of the available jobs, he said.

A willingness to look at new college graduates and graduate school students who will need to grow into a position is another popular option, especially since the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the retirement-age population will grow by 38 percent over the next 10 years. The aging population will drive up demand in many fields, so considering applicants who may be a few years away from what typically is considered a perfect fit for a job can be a great strategy, say career advisers.

The fact that rapid technical innovation makes many skills obsolete quickly adds to the need to incorporate lots of on-the-job training, and reinforces the notion that a candidate’s once-perfectly matched skills may be outdated by his or her first anniversary on the job.

“If you look at a job like information security analyst, hiring is projected to rise by 37 percent over the next six years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), yet the job’s requirements are changing at a rapid pace,” says Kyle Kensing of CareerCast.com, which fielded the study. So if a company has a rigid job description for this position, it’s not accounting for evolution within the job that could happen over just the next few months, he added.

Of course, working with companies to help them plan a recruitment strategy on your campus well before any specific jobs need to be filled is the smartest strategy, yet one that hasn’t been adopted widely, given the just-in-time nature of many industries.

“Through workforce planning and predictive analytics, it’s really critical to determine ahead of time what your hiring needs will be,” said Kannisto.

Efforts to recruit upstream by forging relationships beyond traditional college sources also can be effective, he added. Recruiters are encouraged to create programs with diversity organizations that work with younger age groups as a great way to help meet recruiting goals well beyond next year, Kannisto said.

For those more worried about the near future, here are six jobs that can be filled by business school graduates that CareerCast expects will be especially difficult to hire for next year for a range of reasons, including BLS-projected talent shortages, retirements due to an aging workforce, and above-average growth in demand:

1. Data Scientist

Roughly 6,000 companies are expected to hire for an estimated 4.4 million IT jobs with direct ties to data analysis next year, reported CareerCast via Stamford, Connecticut-based Gartner. Data science’s hiring boom is tricky to measure, say analysts, because the field is so new that the BLS doesn’t yet track specific hiring needs. In addition, the skill sets and responsibilities are still being defined at many companies, which likely will increase the recruiting challenge as hiring managers redefine what they seek on a regular basis.

2. General and Operations Manager

To meet the expected 12.4 percent growth in demand that the BLS anticipates by 2022, recruiters will have to get busy soon. That growth rate translates into 613,000 open positions to fill for general and operations managers over the next seven years.

3. Information Security Analyst

The proliferation of cloud-based technology is a driving force in the need for this job. Microsoft reported that by the beginning of next year, North American companies will need to employ at least 2.7 million cloud-computing workers, including information security analysts, and labor analysts say the supply can’t meet that demand.

4. Marketing Manager

With the explosive growth in digital marketing and an already high average annual salary of 127,130 USD, marketing managers are in very short supply, reported the BLS. Looking to new college graduates to help fill the pipeline won’t suffice, as marketing is one of the skill sets most in demand by college recruiters, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

5. Medical Services Manager

The requirements for this position overlap the nation’s highest labor shortage industries, as estimated by BLS: health care, social assistance, and professional business services. The BLS projects 73,300 new hires will be needed in the field by 2022, and predicts a 23 percent overall increase in employment.

6. Software Engineer

The Conference Board estimates there will be three jobs available for every new college graduate from a computer science program in 2016. This statistic is not surprising, given that the BLS estimates 222,600 software engineering jobs will need to be filled by 2022.


Tony Lee, Vice President, Editorial, SHRMTony Lee is vice president of editorial for SHRM.

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