On Friday morning, about 1,600 students at Vanderbilt University received their diplomas and either will enter the workforce or go on with their education.
For those seeking jobs in Nashville, the market remains strong in the face of a sluggish economy that has seen companies shed jobs.
Nashville’s job market seems to track with the trend in the national economy. Construction jobs have been declining, though not at the same pace elsewhere in the country. Manufacturing jobs everywhere dip when the national economy slumps.
But health care companies and firms in professional and technical services continue to add people.
Unemployment hovers around 5 percent, tracking just a little lower than the Nashville average.
Nancy Eisenbrandt, senior vice president of workforce development for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, said hiring is still strong in information technology, technical services and healthcare.
“There are even jobs in manufacturing,” Eisenbrandt said.
She said there’s strong need for people in plant maintenance. There continues to be a need for nurses and there’s a shortage of truck drivers.
“The magic is between those specific skills, talents and what companies are looking for, particularly in those service sectors,” she said.
Sales jobs have been tougher to find unless they involve medical and pharmaceutical sales.
“In fact, they’ve added to a lot of territories,” said Jeff Giuliano, president of Giuliano Recruiting Group.
He specializes in the health care industry.
“Health care doesn’t ever seem to change,” Giuliano said. “The demand (from companies) for the jobs hasn’t changed. I continue to pick and choose who I work with.”
He said most of the recruiting he’s done in the Nashville area involves finding professionals to fill clinical jobs for companies doing research on new drugs.
Cindy Funk, director of the Vanderbilt Career Center, said graduates who have actively looked for work haven’t had a difficult time finding jobs but the process has taken a little longer.
“We didn’t see any offers rescinded,” she said, adding that even the financial industry is still hiring.
The students could spread out everywhere and there’s no data yet on how many will stay in Nashville and who landed what jobs. Still, Nashville is one of the top four places for students to consider, Funk says. Chicago, Atlanta and New York City are the others.
Some of the graduates will head off to law school. Eisenbrandt said that is one profession where more aren’t needed.
“There’s just an oversupply of people going into that,” she said.