Maine is the oldest state in the nation, which means a lot of the work force is approaching retirement age.
According to the University of Maine about three quarters of their graduating class will stay in Maine for their careers to fill those vacancies.
That does not coincide with the belief Maine’s brightest and best are leaving the state, in a “brain drain.”
Not only is the workforce changing, but so are the jobs, and how job seekers are finding those careers.
“It used to be that you would open a newspaper and you find job ads, it’s just not, that’s not how people are finding jobs now,” said Crisanne Blackie the Director of the UMaine Career Center. “So we have Career Link which is our online job listing service, so employers can upload jobs directly in to Career Link, we can upload jobs for an employer and students can look at that online, they can download an app to their phone or an iPad and they can get a continual listing of jobs so as we get ’em, students get ’em.”
Many are discovering employers are looking for the right person for the job, not necessarily the right person with the exact skills, but they want someone who fits with them said Blackie. “Employers want people who can communicate, who can make eye contact, who can be able to greet somebody, and be able to do the soft skills that we like people to have, politeness, honesty, integrity, those sorts of things. They can teach them a lot of the day to day work skills, so they want a student who can learn, and be able to be trained in the skills of that particular job set, but communication skills above all is what people want.”
UMaine Senior Connor Smart will graduate with a 4.0 GPA, and already has a job lined up, he agrees with Blackie about what companies are looking for. “Mostly people who can be friendly and easy to get along with to be honest, people who could fit within the firm’s culture and who presented themselves in a manner that they could work hard and they could be friendly and fun to work with and had an interest in the subject, people who were willing to invest themselves in becoming skilled in the profession and who wanted to commit themselves to the company’s success, I think the biggest thing that people were looking for mostly was how positive is this person’s attitude and are they going to make a nice fit within the company.”
But once that job is found, Blackie says that does not guarantee it is forever. “They will continually have to reinvent themselves and continually looking for new jobs, so we want to teach them the skill of how do you find your employment, how do you find your career path, how do you find your passion with what you want to do with your life.”
Think back to recent years, it wasn’t long ago there wasn’t an IT professional or webmaster at every job, no one had heard of some of the current jobs, and James Westhoff of Husson University feels the future job market will be very similar in terms of growth and change. “Just the jobs that haven’t been named yet, or developed yet, I think the technology that’s coming to the forefront, who knows what the job titles are going to be, I think they are changing on a daily, well yearly basis I think, so I think just even I don’t know what direction the economy is going to take and the types of jobs that are going to be there. That’s the kind of reading I do all the time is to learn what’s happening and see trends”
He thought the next step was a quote “economy of innovation” not only for the current college seniors, but for the high school seniors still years away from their degrees. “I think that is the wave of the future, in my opinion, is entrepreneurship, and developing innovative new products and ideas.”