Students at top-tier undergraduate and MBA programs can look forward to a resurgent employment market according to a new study released by WetFeet, Inc., a research group that studies trends in the student job market.

Anxiety over the lack of employment opportunities is starting to wane among students as more and more corporations begin refilling positions lost in the massive layoffs of the past few years.

“We have seen several companies who had previously cancelled their recruiting efforts in 2002 return for on-campus recruiting in 2003,” Sylvia E. Robinson, executive director of the MBNA Career Research Center at Georgetown University, said.

According to the study, job offers rose 30 percent between 2002 and 2003 with 27 percent of undergraduates and 40 percent of MBA candidates receiving multiple job offers. The salary expectations, however, generally decreased for the more than 2,700 undergraduate, graduate and MBA students at the Top-50 institutions WetFeet surveyed for its findings.

Salary expectations for Georgetown students have not changed according to Robinson. “It remains a `buyers’ market’ for employers as they have many more students and recent graduates seeking jobs and internships than they have positions to fill. This puts the employers in the driver’s seat as they make offers and negotiate salaries with students.”

Students from competitive undergraduate and graduate programs also tended to have an edge in the employment process. Robinson attributes this advantage to the perception that these students are the hardest working and most talented applicants and to the strong alumni connections those universities have with employers.

The study also found that students were making efforts to diversify their job search strategies by considering more industries and sectors than they have in the past.

“Students are cautiously optimistic. More students are seeking government and non-profit opportunities than we had noticed in past years,” said Robinson. “This trend started shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, and may be attributable to the resurgence of patriotism as well as the very competitive job market.”

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