Opportunities still await students at career fair

The recent downturn in the economy and the growing strain on available jobs has affected many people, including recent college graduates.

However, a large group of companies on the lookout for full-time jobs, internships and co-op positions was represented at the recent career fair sponsored by the Georgia Tech Society of Black Engineers (GTSBE).

The GTSBE held their thirty-second annual career fair last week on Thursday, Jan. 15 and Friday, Jan. 16 in the Student Center Ballroom.

Split over the two-day event, 82 companies turned out to speak with prospective students looking to take their first step into the job market.

“We’ve had a couple of no-shows from companies due to financial reasons,” said La-Trice Lambert, a third-year CS major and chair of the GTSBE. “However, there are more smaller companies this time.”

Lambert also noted that there were more internships available than co-op positions this year, yet the number of full-time positions remained the same compared to past years.

The career fair was open to all students, with the majority of companies represented focusing on hiring computer science and engineering majors. However, there were some available positions for management majors.

A variety of companies sent representatives and recruiters, including Fluor, Harris Assured Communications, Lockheed Martin and Intel.

Concerns over the poor economy have not stopped some companies from trying to fill open positions. Corporate representatives stated that while they may not be hiring as many positions as in years past, they are in fact still hiring.

Other companies, such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, said they are still hiring at normal amounts.

“We’re still hiring, looking for various engineers,” said a recruiter from Northrop Grumman who requested to remain anonymous. “I’m unsure about the exact volume [of available positions], but I’ve had approximately over 60 interested students or submitted resumes.”

Companies such as Microsoft and Schlumberger are still hiring for positions. However, they have held back on hiring as many entry-level positions.

“We are still hiring, but not so much. We aren’t stopping though,” said Humberto Larios, a representative from Schlumberger. “[We] still have about 50 internships and 100 engineering full-time positions.”

Even with the rumors of layoffs reported by CNET News, Microsoft acknowledged that they were still in the process of hiring recent graduates.

“We aren’t doing it as fast or aggressively now,” said Steven Gray, a Microsoft representative. “We’re looking for more interns in areas like software engineering and program management. Also in core tech areas, such as the core OS division, Windows, high performance computing and security.” Gray also stated that last year Microsoft employed more than a dozen summer interns who came from Tech.

Despite the views from the recruiters, the job hunt is proving difficult from the students’ perspectives.

“The number of positions [has been] reduced drastically,” said Aditya Padival, an ISyE graduate student and international student. “It’s bad for international students, and better for U.S. citizens.”

However, at least one Tech student was having some luck in the search for employment after being able to set up an interview with an employer.

“At this career fair, the diversity in the companies is better,” said Philip Estrada, fourth-year ME. “However [the economy] has affected some more than others, and it makes it more challenging.”

Estrada described how some companies aren’t hiring as much. Southern Company, according to Estrada, has a hiring freeze for all full-time positions.