NACE Conference Paris Hotel Las Vegas 2012
National Association of College and Employers (NACE)
We recently travelled to the US to attend the National Association of College and Employers (NACE). NACE is the US equivalent of the AAGE Conference which is coming up in Melbourne in November.
NACE is huge – there are about 2,000 delegates attending. However, it’s actually quite different to the Australian conference which is mainly made up of graduate employers. At NACE, only about 30% of delegates are employers - 50% are University Careers Centres and the remaining 20% are suppliers and associations. With the majority of delegates being University Careers Officers, unsurprisingly a lot of the conference is targeted towards this group.
Here in Australia, employers tend to market directly to students and graduates. In the US however, much more attention is paid to students’ parents and the careers’ centres that students often need to apply through before their application even gets to an employer. As a result, most of the conference sponsorship was taken up by employers targeting the careers centres – which was interesting to see that they’re spending money on marketing even though there aren’t any graduates in sight. And of course that’s quite different to the number of suppliers you’d find taking up the sponsorship spots at the AAGE.
What we learnt
As we’re neither careers officers nor a major graduate employer, the value for us attending NACE was to see what’s happening in the tech scene over there. Given it’s the home of Facebook and Google, we were expecting to see some interesting initiatives in the graduate recruitment space.
Mobile was probably the most interesting topic for us to take note of at the conference. Employers are investing in optimising their sites and in some case their application process for mobile devices. Mobile first development is becoming the standard so any new feature that’s built is done on mobile platforms before going to the website. With mobile traffic going up monthly here in Australia a lot of our new site features will be built this way, a practice that all the major sites have moved to including Facebook, LinkedIn and Google.
Whilst it was great to see initiatives like this developing over there, it reminded us that the Australian market is comparatively innovative and technology-focussed.