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  • Prevalence, Popularity of Career Fairs Remains Steady

    September 23, 2019 | By NACE Staff

    Trends & Predictions
    A recruiter walks to a career fair.

    TAGS: trends and predictions, surveys, benchmarks, spotlight

    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

      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 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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