Student attendance drops at Tempe, West job fairs

JOB SEARCH: Students fill out applications at the job fair on the downtown campus Friday afternoon. Each semester the job fair features booths from all different valley employers, from the Phoenix Zoo to 620 KTAR. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

Student attendance at campus job fairs declined at the Tempe and West campuses while attendance at the Downtown and Polytechnic campuses remained unchanged, ASU career service officials from multiple campuses said.

Tempe’s job fair saw a decline in attendance from about 2,400 students in 2010 to almost 1,900 students on Aug. 17, Director of Career Services Elaine Stover said.

“My guess is that many students … started the process early, and since (departments) could post at any time, many did so early and thus many students would have had the opportunity to apply for and get these jobs before classes started,” Stover said.

The West campus saw a decline in student participation of about 100 students, or roughly a third of 2010’s attendance, at its job fair on Aug. 19, said Isabel Ferrales, director of career services on the West campus.

Attendance at the Downtown campus job fair on Friday remained equivalent to the 2010 total with roughly 600 students, said Cindy Parnell the career services director at the Downtown campus.

The large number of applicants overwhelmed some employers at the Downtown campus job fair.

Alisa Jacobson, representing My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, received a large stack of applications.

“Lots of people are having the same problem,” Jacobson said.  “There is a huge amount of people looking for positions and there are only a couple available.”

Other employers like Pro Em, Profession Event Management, an event management company that provides security for events like ASU football games, did not encounter the same problem. Pro Em Human Resources coordinator Marisol Delgado said she was looking to hire about 200 people and she didn’t find the ratio of positions to applications a problem.

“We are pretty balanced on the applications that we have,” Delgado said.

Some students were impressed by the quality of the Downtown campus job fair as compared to other off-campus job fairs.

“The last couple of job fairs I went to people were trying to sell you things, and to get you to buy into their company,” urban environmental planning graduate Joseph Muro said.

Attendance at the Polytechnic campus job fair on Aug. 19 remained at an even 250, the same as 2010, said Justin Finnerty, director of the Career Preparation Center on the Polytechnic campus.

However, the number of employers doubled from 14 to 28 because this was the first time Polytechnic coordinators invited off-campus employers to the Polytechnic job fair.

Finnerty said they didn’t invite off-campus employers before because they wanted to promote student engagement.

“Research shows that students who live and work on-campus are more engaged, have higher persistence and retention rates and are more likely to be involved than students who live and work off campus,” Finnerty said.

Maintaining as many opportunities for student employment as possible, even off-campus, is important because jobs can help students grow personally and professionally, Ferrales said.

“Part-time jobs create an awareness of how the world outside of college functions,” Ferrales said.

 

Reach the reporter at mshinn@asu.edu