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Analysis of 2009 Australian Careers Fairs

Posted by Daniel Purchas

Well its been just about 2 months since the main careers fair season has ended for 2009 and last week we received an interesting email provided by the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (AAGE). For the first time ever the AAGE has analysed attendances at the careers fairs that have been held at universities across Australia.

Careers Fairs Statistics

The report has given us some interesting stats about the amount of organisations looking to hire graduates as well as which universities seem to be the most popular amongst graduate employers.

  • 596 different organisations attended careers fairs in 2009 - most were companies that are recruiting directly but there are a small number of Associations and other organisations (like us) that do not directly employ graduates.
  • 40 careers fairs were held nationwide - between 3rd March and the 8th of April. An interesting point to note is that some of the major graduate programs closed their applications before the end of the careers fair season meaning many of the Queensland careers fairs aren't utilised by some organisations' graduate recruitment drives.
  • The most careers fairs attended by one organisation was 35 out of 40 and on average organisations attended 4.25 careers fairs each.

Careers Fair Attendance Spread

Another interesting stat was the amount of careers fairs that were attended by employers, with nearly half attending just one university careers fair.

  • 70 organisations attended 10 or more careers fairs; We think this stat shows that even though the economy is not in the best shape there are still a large number of organisations that are looking to hire substantial numbers of graduates from all over Australia.
  • 248 organisations attended between 2 and 9 careers fairs; this seems to indicate that there are a serious amount of organisations at the state level that are on the hunt for good graduates for midsized graduate programs and smaller amounts of graduate jobs.
  • 278 organisations went to only 1 careers fair; it's interesting to see that there are a large number of presumably smaller employers that are actively getting out and promoting themselves in the graduate market.

Careers Fairs By State

In terms of employers, it appears that the Victorian university careers fairs are most popular to attend with an average of 76 organisations attending. The University of Melbourne took the honours of having the most graduate employers attend their careers fair in 2009 with 146 employers.

  • Western Australia - total of 4, biggest fair was Curtin with 106, average was 65 graduate employers per careers fair
  • Victoria, total of 8 - Biggest was Melbourne Uni with 146, average was 76 graduate employers per careers fair
  • South Australia - total of 6, biggest was Uni of South Australia with 89, average was 48 gradaute employers per careers fair
  • New South Wales - total of 10, biggest was UNSW with 118, average was 65 graduate employers per careers fair
  • Queensland total of 9 - biggest was Uni of Queensland with 137, average was 63 graduate employers per careers fair
  • Tasmania - one fair only with 43 graduate employers attending
  • Northern Territory - one fair only with 37
  • Canberra - one fair only combining 3 universities of students with 68 graduate employers attending

Our Experiences at University Careers Fairs 2009

It was our first time out on the campaign trail and we attended 15 careers fairs in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane and Canberra. The best fairs that we attended in terms of layout and the amount of grads we spoke to were probably the NSW Big Meet and the Monash Careers Fair, even though Monash was 6 hours long! We have to give an honourable mention to the Queensland fairs we attended due to the fact that it gave us a good excuse to go to Dreamworld : )

2010 Careers Fairs and Beyond

It would be interesting to compare next years careers fair attendances with that of 2009.

Anecdotally we have heard that a lot of employers pulled back on the number of careers fairs they attended in 2009 but we are unable to come to any measurable conclusion.

We were generally surprised to see the number of graduate employers that went to only 1 careers fair, evidence of very targeted graduate attraction marketing. Are companies going to continue with the shot-gun approach to graduate recruitment? Or are we going to see careers fairs continue to be come more localised?

We have heard the figure that 1 in 4 final year students attend their university careers fair but this figure is subject to verification. Can anyone shed light on the percentage of grads that attend these fairs and whether or not this has increased or decreased during tense economic times?


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