College Recruiting Means Wooing Students Early

Susan Hall

To add 500 jobs in Austin, Texas, as it sets up an IT innovation center there as part of its plan to bring 90 percent of its outsourced work back in house, General Motors is embarking on an aggressive college-recruiting strategy.

NetApp has a similar strategy, with plans to add approximately 200 new college graduates and 250 college interns next May or June as its sets up a software development center in Wichita, Kan.

The problem is that both are pretty late to the party. Ed Lazowska, a longtime University of Washington computer science professor, told me that very little recruiting takes place on campus for seniors. The real scrambling is for sophomores that companies woo into internships; they already have jobs lined up by their senior year.

Lazowska, by the way, along with fellow UW computer science prof Hank Levy has been immortalized on the T-shirts given to Google interns, GeekWire reports. That should tell you something.

Though computer science enrollments are growing, a 2011 report by the Computing Research Association puts the total number of bachelor’s degrees granted in the United States that year at around 12,000.

GM and NetApp will be hard-pressed to compete for students with Google, Microsoft and others with well-established and highly regarded internship programs. Doubly so, with what they’re paying those fresh-out-of-school new hires. According to PayScale, Microsoft workers with 0 to five years experience make an average of $91,500, compared with $87,500 at Google.

Companies have to get on students’ radar much earlier — and won’t see much hiring success with new grads for two or three years. And that’s not the type of ramp-up that GM and NetApp have in mind.



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