Fairing well in the workplace

Graduates ‘may have to be mobile’ to find jobs

Students connect with prospective employers in Grant Hall at last week’s Career Fair.
Students connect with prospective employers in Grant Hall at last week’s Career Fair.
Credit: 
Lindsay Duncan

Julian Herbert, Sci ’08, isn’t worried about landing a job come spring. The mining engineering student visited the Career Fair both Monday and Tuesday in Grant Hall to explore his options. He said there were lots of opportunities for engineers.

“There’s lots of mining companies here. It is really competitive for that kind of work, as the industry is in on the boom. It’s great because the companies are more eager to talk to you.” Jason Yamaoka, Sci ’07, said he’s looking forward to the engineering-specific career week in mid-October but attended this week’s career fair to cover all his bases.

“I already have some contacts with companies I am interested in, but it’s always good to expand your networks,” said Yamaoka, a civil engineering student.

Anna Grace, ArtSci ’08, was less impressed by the display.

“I felt that the career fair was intended more for engineering and commerce students than for those pursuing arts degrees,” she said. “Given the nature of the two previous disciplines, I understand the need for networking and immediate recruitment after graduation; however, it seems unfair that an arts student has to do all of the searching on their own.”

As an English major, Grace said she was hoping to see more companies pertaining to her degree and program.

“It would have been nice to see some information about teaching or publishing, things that would be relevant to certain arts degrees,” she said.

Business Career Centre Director David Edwards said a student’s first job search can be daunting.

“Keep an open mind, and don’t be discouraged by the start of your job search,” he said. “There’s always something other there for you, and eventually it will all fall into place.”

Recently, Edward said there has been a lot of interest shown in the oil and gas sector and related industries.

“In Canada, the single largest market is the Greater Toronto Area. Most head offices or large divisions of corporations are located there,” he said. “The second biggest is Calgary, third is Montreal and fourth is Vancouver.”

Ken Wong, professor of business and marketing strategy, said graduating students may have to consider moving outside Ontario to look for work.

“You may have to be mobile. The employment situation is better out west than central Canada with the boom of the oil industry,” he said. “Alberta and British Columbia have the fastest growing economies in the country.”

More than 2,000 students attended the Career Services annual career fair, which hosted 90 companies over a two day period.

“Queen’s Career Fair is quite popular in terms of companies,” said Barbara Russell, finance and information clerk for Queen’s Career Services. “Every year, we are full to capacity.” Russell was also involved with the registration and recruitment process of the fair.

“This year, we did a big campaign on trying to get nursing students and students with health degrees to attend,” she said. She said companies from those fields have been underrepresented in the past.

Russell said students in a more generalized area of study have more flexibility when it comes to the discipline they pursue in the job market.

Ultimately, Russell said, students have to chart their own course. She said employers in fields related to the arts often run information sessions as an alternative to job fairs because of the wide spectrum of arts programs at universities.

“Students have to be proactive in finding the companies that will recruit students with their background.”

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