Students react to employer diversity at career fair

Elyssa Loughlin | Editor

On Thursday, Oct. 4, La Salle held its biannual Career Fair in the Tom Gola Arena located in the TruMark Financial Center. This was the first career fair since the implementation of Handshake. The new student employment website was launched at the beginning of the fall semester and replaced Explorenet, the previous website that offered only local internships and job opportunities.
With the advent of Handshake, students were given a better idea of employers that were present. By going onto their personal Handshake account, students could filter employers by their major, grade and job-type. The students could then click on specific employers and favorite certain companies that they would be interested in speaking with. When they arrived at the career fair, regardless of whether they utilized Handshake prior to coming, students were directed to employers seeking their major.
Out of the 93 companies in attendance, only 49 of the employers advertised that they were looking for students of all majors. According to an Instagram post, 40 of those employers were looking for liberal arts majors. “I was anxious and also a little underwhelmed by the scene before me,” junior biology major Olivia Mowery said. After arriving at the career fair, Mowery was directed to a meager three tables, despite the 93 companies in attendance looking to “hire explorers.” “One of the companies I was told to visit was a financial advising company,” Mowery said. “Why this company would be listed as specifically seeking biology majors, I had no idea.”
“I decided not to go to the career fair this year, as in years past I have been sorely disappointed,” senior political science major Jon Mains said.
Junior communication major Nick Skiles was also disappointed by the number of potential employers for students like him. “There was little opportunity there for anyone besides business or finance majors. In fact, I only found two tables that applied to my major.”
While many first-time visitors were discouraged by the turnout, veteran career fair-goers think it has more to do with the type of employers in attendance than the fair as a whole. “This year’s fair was a lot smaller than previous years,” said senior marketing major Nathan Enslin. “I was able to find a lot of options for what I want to go into that weren’t here in years past…Personally, I thought it was a really good fair, but I realize that there were also a lot less options for people who aren’t business majors.”
Despite the lack of encouragement Mowery gained from her potential employers, she said “The career fair wasn’t a complete waste of my time.
“I was able to get a free headshot for my LinkedIn from a lady who wanted $35 dollars for retouching, and I received a lot of compliments throughout the day on my business-casual attire,” Mowery said. The concerns of the students are not going unheard, and it is important that those with grievances make them known to the administration.
“Nothing about this lack of diversity is going to change unless students become more vocal about these issues,” senior history major Selena Bemak said. But speaking up is not as hard as some may think. Mowery said that Career Center employees were asking students for feedback, both positive and negative, in the form of surveys as they exited the Gola.