All Posts Tagged With: "recruitment"
Campus recruiters plan on less hiring, same pay
A survey of 324 Canadian employers shows that they expect post-secondary graduates will still be struggling to find work in 2012.
Recruiters who hire students are projecting 2.9 per cent fewer job offers in 2012 and no increase in starting pay, according to the 2011 Campus Recruitment and Benchmark Survey. The survey was collected on behalf of The Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers between August 1 and September 26, 2011.
Since then, the economic outlook has worsened. In October, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty cut his growth forecast for 2011 from 2.9 per cent to 2.2 per cent. Earlier this month, TD Economics reduced its forecast for growth in GDP next year from 1.9 to 1.7 per cent due to weakness in Europe that is likely to spread. Scotia Capital is predicting 1.8 per cent growth. That follows last year’s post-recession rebound of 3.2 per cent.
16 students enticed in first eight months
Brock University, known for it’s innovative marketing, is now using Chinese social media sites to recruit. In just eight months, they’ve enticed 16 new students to enroll. That may not seem like a lot, but it is, considering that international undergraduate students pay roughly $15,000* each per year to attend the university and are highly likely to spread awareness of Brock to their peers.
Ken Steele, a marketing expert from Academica Group says he expects this to trend to grow. “Canadian universities are aware that social media [is] still intensely regional — and since international recruitment is increasingly a priority, international social networks are too,” he wrote in an e-mail to On Campus.
Brock’s program uses Mandarin-speaking students to answer questions from potential students on Renren (think Facebook) and QQ (similar to MSN Messenger). Between the two sites there are 620-million users. Weinjie Deng, 24, was hired part-time to answer questions from Chinese students on everything from tuition fees to social life in St. Catharines. “They’re all surprised we’re on (the sites),” he told the Brock News. But it’s working. In less than a year of the program, more than 1,600 Chinese students have expressed interest in Brock. Up next, Brock plans to start recruiting on Orkut, a social site that has 100 million users, mainly in India and South America.
Sometimes, the best ideas are the simple ones
This week, I’m working on Bishop’s University’s new “teaser” piece for prospective students. It’s a booklet destined for distribution across the country. In some homes it will line the bottom of the birdcage, while other students will find exactly what they’re looking for buried in its pages. For years now, Bishop’s – along with every other school – has published this viewbook with the requisite smiling students, pictures of the campus, and pithy catchphrase. But, when you’ve got 95 universities across the country doing the same thing, how do you make your school stand out?
That brings us to the Internet. While some university homepages have sat stagnant for years, many schools have recognized the importance of online exposure. Companies like EDGE even design websites specifically aimed at student recruitment. EDGE’s “EZ-Recruit” is a top-selling product in use by schools such as University of Lethbridge and Acadia University for their “Future Student” portals. The result is a clean, bright portal that addresses the precise needs of prospective students.
EZ-Recruit also uses data provided by students to create targeted communications. Are you a student from Halifax, interested in biology? There’s an e-mail with your name on it, prepped and ready to be sent out. Targetting means that recruitment departments don’t have to send as many blanket communications. Each e-mail and message feels personalized, so that the student receives only the information pertinent to him or her.
Outside of packages like EZ-Recruit, the pickings are slim. For places that are supposedly hubs for research and development, most university websites aren’t terribly engaging. If you look south of the border, the opposite appears to be true. Oberlin and Bennington are two sites that work particularly well, making information available in a captivating manner. Australia’s Bond University even has a minute-long television ad extolling the virtues of attending that particular school. (Just in case living on the Gold Coast wasn’t motivation enough!)
Back to Bishop’s. While we won’t be releasing an award-winning television ad anytime soon, I’ve spent most of my day on the same sites you guys have: Facebook and YouTube. The difference being that it’s my job to overhaul our social media presence, and I’m getting paid for my Facebook/YouTube time. That’s because a little while ago, it dawned on universities that prospective students were spending a lot of time on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and other study distractions. So, why not go to where your audience is? Schools ran towards Facebook and YouTube, populating those two sites with content. Recognizing the trend, YouTube developed “YouTube EDU”, which helps educational institutions transform this into this.
With Facebook, targeted ads allow universities to get in front of potential students in a way they never could before. Is there a particular high school in Vancouver you’ve had multiple applications from this year? Why not give them a bit of a nudge during decision time, and purchase targeted ads in their high school network. The Internet opens up new avenues for targeting potential students that universities are still discovering.
Companies like Inigral and UTours are capitalizing on the push towards the Internet by creating content students are genuinely interested in, on platforms that are both visually attractive, and easy to navigate. In the case of Inigral, they’ve taken it one step further, integrating student information systems with Facebook, in a move that has been called frightening by some, revolutionary by others.
So is this viewbook I’m working on headed the way of the dinosaur? Eventually, yes. You can put more into a few minutes of video then you can into sixteen pages of text. There will always be course calendars and promo materials, but I think there will be a migration away from print, as universities begin to exploit text messaging, iPhone apps, and technologies yet to come. The early adopters will see increased enrolment, or at least increased applications. And the students? Well, they’ll have access to more information than ever before, arriving to them in a personalized and timely package.
While the future of student recruitment looks to be high-tech, there will always be great, low-tech ways to get attention. Last September, Bishop’s hired a chalk artist during the Toronto Student Life Expo. The artist sketched a huge graphic that read “Think Outside the Box”, encouraging students to consider their options outside of Ontario. It didn’t cost much, and it was incredibly effective. It just goes to show that sometimes… the best ideas are simple.
Is it 2009 already? A look back at what we at Maclean’s OnCampus were up to in 2008
Time to restart this blog. Finally. You get busy with one project, and then another…. and before you know it, your blog’s last time stamp is from last summer.
So what have we been up to here at the Maclean’s higher education workshop? Over the past year, we:
* Launched a new website (that would be this one).
* Held our first annual student recruitment fair, the Maclean’s OnCampus Virtual Fair. (It’s still available on demand until the end of this month), and thousands registered to take part.
* Published our largest-ever edition of the Maclean’s University Rankings issue. (The issue is still on newsstands until the end of the month; online, you can get some of the rankings data here.)
* Put out our third annual University Student issue, containing student survey results from most of Canada’s universities. (Check out those results here). In 2008, we also finally started to expand our coverage of that other half of the Canadian higher education landscape—colleges—giving them a growing section on the website, featuring student survey results from more than 150,000 college students and grads in Ontario and B.C.
* Introduced new sections to the website, such as Student Finance.
* Looking for money for school? We launched a growing database of university and college awards, bursaries and scholarships. The Scholarship Finder search engine contains several thousand awards—and we’re just days away from pushing the button on a dramatic expansion of the database.
* Published our second annual professional schools issue, including our exclusive ranking of Canada’s law schools.
* And published our 13th annual edition of the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. (which you can buy on newsstand, or online here.). Since it’s inception, the Guide has sold over 350,000 copies.
Other editorial highlights include:
* Joey Coleman’s fine coverage of the York strike.
* The disclosure of university presidents’ contracts, including some juicy benefits for departing chief execs. (Notably the outgoing president of McMaster and his mysterious 14-year, $99,999 per year golden handshake—$1 less than the amount that must be disclosed under Ontario public sector compensation rules. Big tip of the hat to the Hamilton Spectator for spending months pursuing McMaster and this story through access to information law.)
* The Shinerama debacle at Carleton.
What’s coming for 2009? That’s my next post…..
National Post says private Quest University is better than public universities
This article from the National Post takes up the issue of private versus public universities. Post reporter Brian Hutchinson suggests that the education provided by Quest University in British Columbia is far superior to that of Canadian public universities because Quest is:
capable of providing what most public universities in Canada cannot: creative, high-intensity curricula; very low teacher-student ratios; small class sizes and flexible scheduling; instructors who are committed to teaching, rather than to their own research; a positive atmosphere devoid of faculty-level sniping and politicking.
Hutchinson is remarkably capable of maintaining his idyllic view of the university in spite of his mention of lower than projected enrollments; floundering student recruitment; a recent public relations fiasco; a founding president who resigned abruptly under mysterious circumstances; campus construction delays; and no real rational, long-term planning. In the words of the incoming president, who works pro bono, Quest University is a “quixotic dream…. Every day is a crisis”.