Prevalence, Popularity of Career Fairs Remains Steady

September 23, 2019 | By NACE Staff

Trends & Predictions
A recruiter walks to a career fair

TAGS: benchmarks, nace insights, surveys, trends and predictions,

Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

Career fairs are one of the most frequently provided services by college career centers, as 91.7 percent reported hosting at least one career fair in 2017-18, according to results in NACE’s 2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities.

This percentage has remained in the 90 to 95 percent range since 2006.

Overall, respondents held an average of 4.2 career fairs, with an average of 208 organizations and 1,441 students attending. (See Figure 1.) The latter number, in particular, is elevated by the robust attendance at career fairs held by Research 1 and Research 2 institutions.

The number of organizations that attend these fairs has climbed since the Great Recession. In 2008, there was an average of 159 organizations in attendance at career fairs, with a high during 2016 of 215 organizations. (See Figure 2.)

Data from the 2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey were collected from December 17, 2018, to March 22, 2019. NACE member institutions were surveyed, resulting in 662 respondents, which translates to a 34.8 percent response rate. The comprehensive survey report details various aspects of college and university career center operations. This year’s survey was refined with the help of a research advisory committee, consisting of both NACE employer and college members. The 2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities will be available this fall.

Figure 1: Number of career fairs hosted with number of organizations and students in attendance, 2017-18 academic year

 
A&S
Assoc.Diverse
Bacc./
Assoc.
Small M3
BaccalaureateMedium M2
Special FocusLarge M1
Master’sProf. D/P
DoctoralR2
OverallR1
Number of career fairs sponsored
Percentile 25
Assoc.2
Bacc./
Assoc.
2
Baccalaureate1
Special Focus1
Master’s2
Doctoral1
Overall2
2
2
3
3
2
Mean
Assoc.3
Bacc./
Assoc.
4
Baccalaureate3
Special Focus3
Master’s2
Doctoral3
Overall3
4
4
5
7
4.2
Median
Assoc.2
Bacc./
Assoc.
3
Baccalaureate2
Special Focus2
Master’s2
Doctoral2
Overall3
4
3
5
5
3
Percentile 75
Assoc.4
Bacc./
Assoc.
5
Baccalaureate4
Special Focus3
Master’s3
Doctoral4
Overall3
6
6
6
10
5
Count
Assoc.43
Bacc./
Assoc.
9
Baccalaureate21
Special Focus36
Master’s13
Doctoral20
Overall42
107
41
57
68
499
Number of organizations that attended career fairs
Percentile 25
Assoc.45
Bacc./
Assoc.
63
Baccalaureate50
Special Focus35
Master’s55
Doctoral55
Overall55
98
100
200
187
70
Mean
Assoc.90
Bacc./
Assoc.
194
Baccalaureate175
Special Focus81
Master’s101
Doctoral103
Overall132
197
181
314
418
207.6
Median
Assoc.69
Bacc./
Assoc.
162
Baccalaureate100
Special Focus75
Master’s83
Doctoral75
Overall120
150
161
297
377
146
Percentile 75
Assoc.110
Bacc./
Assoc.
260
Baccalaureate180
Special Focus110
Master’s95
Doctoral125
Overall188
245
250
400
595
282
Count
Assoc.36
Bacc./
Assoc.
8
Baccalaureate47
Special Focus33
Master’s13
Doctoral18
Overall37
97
34
53
60
447
Number of students that attended career fairs
Percentile 25
Assoc.250
Bacc./
Assoc.
185
Baccalaureate91
Special Focus90
Master’s157
Doctoral198
Overall221
350
228
1,102
1,687
237
Mean
Assoc.449
Bacc./
Assoc.
1,112
Baccalaureate323
Special Focus238
Master’s289
Doctoral493
Overall667
1,143
842
2,702
4,076
1,440.9
Median
Assoc.380
Bacc./
Assoc.
626
Baccalaureate200
Special Focus175
Master’s263
Doctoral425
Overall450
699
534
1,903
3,945
600
Percentile 75
Assoc.500
Bacc./
Assoc.
1,579
Baccalaureate320
Special Focus325
Master’s425
Doctoral656
Overall880
1,521
1,000
3,000
5,876
1,787
Count
Assoc.33
Bacc./
Assoc.
8
Baccalaureate47
Special Focus34
Master’s12
Doctoral18
Overall39
98
36
50
61
447
  Assoc. Bacc./
Assoc.
Baccalaureate Special Focus Master’s Doctoral Overall
A&S Diverse Small M3 Medium M2 Large M1 Prof. D/P R2 R1
Number of career fairs sponsored
Percentile 25 2 2 1 1 2 1 2 2 2 3 3 2
Mean 3 4 3 3 2 3 3 4 4 5 7 4.2
Median 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 4 3 5 5 3
Percentile 75 4 5 4 3 3 4 3 6 6 6 10 5
Count 43 9 21 36 13 20 42 107 41 57 68 499
Number of organizations that attended career fairs
Percentile 25 45 63 50 35 55 55 55 98 100 200 187 70
Mean 90 194 175 81 101 103 132 197 181 314 418 207.6
Median 69 162 100 75 83 75 120 150 161 297 377 146
Percentile 75 110 260 180 110 95 125 188 245 250 400 595 282
Count 36 8 47 33 13 18 37 97 34 53 60 447
Number of students that attended career fairs
Percentile 25 250 185 91 90 157 198 221 350 228 1,102 1,687 237
Mean 449 1,112 323 238 289 493 667 1,143 842 2,702 4,076 1,440.9
Median 380 626 200 175 263 425 450 699 534 1,903 3,945 600
Percentile 75 500 1,579 320 325 425 656 880 1,521 1,000 3,000 5,876 1,787
Count 33 8 47 34 12 18 39 98 36 50 61 447
Source: 2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Figure 2: Average number of organizations at career fairs since the great recession

Year
2018
Average Number of Organizations208
2017
Average Number of Organizations214
2016
Average Number of Organizations215
2015
Average Number of Organizations210
2014
Average Number of Organizations185
2013
Average Number of Organizations188
2012
Average Number of Organizations165
2011
Average Number of Organizations160
2010
Average Number of Organizations168
2009
Average Number of Organizations194
2008
Average Number of Organizations159
Year Average Number of Organizations
2018 208
2017 214
2016 215
2015 210
2014 185
2013 188
2012 165
2011 160
2010 168
2009 194
2008 159
Source: 2018-19 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities, National Association of Colleges and Employers
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