Thursday, August 27, 2009

High-tech, healthcare best choices for college students

Career advice: High-tech, healthcare best choices for college students

Human resource executives polled said computer science, engineering and healthcare studies could help secure employment during economic recovery.

By Denise Dubie ,

College students considering a field of study should forget about becoming a lawyer and focus on homing their high-tech skills, according to a recent survey of human resources executives who said they believe computer science and engineering careers would be the most fruitful post recession.

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"The trend toward 'green' technologies is creating jobs in engineering and computer science," said John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement. "The areas recommended by human resource executives, while appearing to be relatively specialized on the surface actually provide future graduates with a great amount of flexibility to pursue careers in a wide range of fields that are emerging now or could emerge over the next two decades."

The survey, conducted in August by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, polled 150 HR executives about which college career paths would most likely land jobs in a few years, when presumably the economy is well on its way to recovery. Given 11 options from which to choose, 16% of HR respondents said college students should pursue a career in IT/computer science and 15.2% suggested engineering studies as a successful career route. About 14% indicated a focus in medicine would guarantee a job, and about 9% suggested studying accounting to ensure work post graduation.

"Certain areas in the healthcare sector are having trouble filling positions due to a lack of skilled candidates," Challenger stated.

Other university majors such as liberal arts and pharmaceutical drew 8.5% and 8% of HR executives' vote. General business studies were the choice for 6.4% of those polled, while marketing/advertising/public relations garnered about 4% of responses. Government/public service positions also drew about 4% of responses.

"Despite the increasing need for replacement workers, the government is doing little to streamline the hiring process or improve its image when it comes to being a great place to work," Challenger said.

Near the bottom of the list, only 2.2% of the HR executives polled suggested college students should pursue a career in HR, and 1.4% said they believed law would garner a successful career post-graduation.

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