The term recession-proof seems to have lost its meaning in today’s job market.
Fields such as nursing, education, accounting and engineering, which have previously slipped past economic downturns, have seen decreases in hiring.
Executive Director of the Smith Career Center Jane Linnenburger said despite these statistics, companies have said they are cautiously optimistic for future hiring.
Recruiter for OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Kay Shank said hiring hasn’t decreased because there’s not a need for nurses, but because people aren’t leaving their jobs.
“We are still hiring nurses today, but we have noticed it’s at a slower pace,” she said.
Shank said OSF has hired 48 students who will graduate in May. Although the hospital is still interviewing, she said it probably won’t reach the 75 to 100 hires it had last year.
“What usually happens is a nurse will be married to a [Caterpillar Inc. employee,] and they’ll transfer out so it will open up a position,” she said. “But with the economy the way it is, we don’t see a lot of people moving in and out of Peoria. We also have a number of employees that would probably like to retire, but because of the financial forecast they’re continuing to work.”
Amanda Staley, a nursing major who graduated last year, said finding a job was harder than she anticipated.
“I started applying in January, and I don’t think I found anything until June,” she said. “Some people I graduated with still don’t have jobs.”
Staley is now employed at the Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, a job she said she was able to land through past work experience.
However, she said landing a job in Chicago seemed near-impossible, and she was told by another Rock Island hospital that it had to rehire people it let go before it could make new hires.
Linnenburger said advertising and communications positions are often the first to see problems in a recession. And although that remained consistent with this financial crisis, other fields also saw immediate hits.
“This time, because of the problems with Wall Street and the financial institutions, those were the ones that were impacted,” she said.
Because of the financial crisis, manufacturing also slowed.
“I think at times, during some recessions, engineering or computer science has not been impacted as they have in this most recent economic downturn,” Linnenburger said. “As an example – CAT. The company hasn’t been able to hire until recently, when they’ve begun to hire engineers for selected areas.”
Senior secondary education and history major Amanda Soucie said she’s happy she won’t graduate until next year because of the dismal job market.
“More people are getting pink-slipped than hired,” she said. “They’re actually finding excuses to get rid of people that are tenured.”
However, Soucie said because teachers usually announce their retirement a few years in advance so they get a bonus, she has already seen that more teachers look to be retiring next year.
Linnenburger said opportunities in sales and insurance have been the strongest since last fall and often remain strong in recessions.
“Companies are still cautious to increase their headcount right now until they see more positive signs,” she said. “The competition is tremendous because the new grads compete with those who graduated last year, those who are unemployed and those who are underemployed.”