WITH many multinational corporations putting the brakes on hiring this year, the Nanyang Technological University has set its sights on government agencies and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to hire its graduates.
Over the past few months, the university's career services officers have been cultivating ministries and SMEs to participate in NTU career fairs and recruitment talks.
Their efforts appear to have paid off. Out of the 107 organisations at NTU's two-day career fair which ended last Thursday, 28 per cent were from the public sector - double the number last year.
Some of the government agencies which participated included the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, Defence Science & Technology Agency (DSTA) and Ministry of Education.
NTU career and attachment office director Loh Pui Wah said it took work to 'track down' new partners but the university was willing to put in the effort for the sake of its students.
In previous years, NTU used to rely on mass recruitment drives by MNCs and banks to hire a majority of its graduates.
About 5,000 graduates emerge from NTU each year. Last May, The Straits Times reported that 90 per cent of NTU students who graduated in 2007 got jobs within a month of graduating.
Mr Loh said recruitment by SMEs from growing sectors such as shipyard maintenance, chemical manufacturing and gaming can potentially make up for the hiring freezes by multinationals.
Mr Loh said: '[The SMEs offer] one or two positions but when you add all of this up, the numbers can be quite sizeable.'
NTU also introduced a new SMS service last month to alert students of job openings. Graduating students who fit the requirements of companies will receive SMS alerts informing them of new job opportunities.
It is looking at setting up a portal for students to upload their resumes for employers to view. It will be opening more venues on campus for career counselling to help students manage job expectations.
Mr Loh said that NTU is confident that these efforts will allow 80 to 90 per cent of its graduates to get a job offer by the time they graduate in July.
Other educational institutions are also doing their bit to get their students jobs.
The Singapore Management University and National University of Singapore are organising a series of recruitment and internship events in the next few weeks.
Singapore Polytechnic is going further by offering short term or contract jobs on campus to some students who will be graduating in May.
The students can be engaged in work such as estate management and maintenance, creating multimedia applications or assisting lecturers in research projects.
Having these opportunities to find jobs is comforting for graduating students.
NTU electrical and electronic engineering final-year student Jason Teo, 25, was armed with 10 copies of his resume when he attended NTU's career fair.
He said:'I used to think that I only want to work in the semi-conductor industry. Now I am open for jobs in any engineering company. Hopefully, I will get an offer.'
This article was first published in The Straits Times on February 09, 2009.