COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Over the past few years, the United States has seen industries lose employees during the Great Resignation, and it's also seen a social movement of workers setting strict personal boundaries with the companies that hire them.
At Kyle Field’s Hall of Champions this week, approximately 10,000 Texas A&M engineering students showed their interest in starting a career, potentially before they even graduate.
“I know for some people [an engineering job] is a means to an end, but for me, it is a passion," said career fair attendee Joshua Crump, a junior civil engineering major. "I’m extremely interested in structural engineering. And when I wanted to get into it, I got into it because I was interested in high-rise development.”
Approximately 500 American and international engineering companies were represented this week. The student-run SEC Engineering Career Fair at A&M draws lines of students out the doors, some waiting hours to hand their resumes to companies like Tesla, Apple, and Boeing.
Some students want internships, some are ready for careers. Some as young as freshmen are just eager to network.
“I think this is where we get the majority of our talent from," said Ibk Eweje, a recruiter for ExxonMobil. "We are an organization who don’t really focus on getting a lot of experienced hires, [but] getting that internship transitioned into a full-time hire. And so this career fair is a major pipeline is where we get our talent from. This career fair is the very foundation of how we build our talent pipeline going into the future.”
SEC career fair leaders said that just under 20 percent of students walk away from the fair with an internship or job offer.
While thousands of students were eager to wait in line and speak with corporate recruiters on Wednesday, the student organizers of the career fair noted that these companies certainly aren’t playing hard to get.
“We’ve actually had one of the most insane seasons of recruiting at the fall fair," said Alina Borawski, civil engineering major and senior chair of the career fair. "Registration [for companies] is typically open for three months in the fall fair. In the fall fair we experienced a wait list within two weeks of registration opening. So companies are ready to hire A&M students.”
Though students like these Aggies are eager to get to work, companies Eweje said ExxonMobile isn't blind to the social media conversation over topics like ‘quiet quitting,’ and the movement of young workers to set work-life balance boundaries with employers.
“The workplace flexibility is something we’ve been doing for a long time," he explained. "But advertising that a lot more is something we are realizing has an impact on the talent we’re trying to attract.”
The current job market is complex, and morale and job interest vary depending on the industry.
Business Insider reported in 2021 that lower-paying industries have lost more workers than higher-paying industries since the start of the pandemic.
But for thousands of Aggie engineers, the time to get to work, can’t come any faster.