WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – With college graduations scheduled statewide, many people know someone wrapping up their education and ready to join the workforce.
But what does the workforce look like right now?
It turns out, there are a few specific areas of work that are seeing more success than others, according to Jeremy Hill, Wichita State’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research director.
Kansas is historically an oil, agriculture and manufacturing state but the jobs being created over the last few years have largely been within the service providing sectors, Hill said.
Specifically, Hill’s findings show the regional demand for entry-level college graduates is greatest in the business and professional service sectors.
Some examples of that include financial analysts and accountants. That sector is seeing a lot of competition and increasing wages.
Entry-level positions in management show some demand, Hill said, but prior experience is needed.
Prior experience is necessary to finding most entry-level jobs, according to Alicia Halloway, president of the Wichita Independent Business Association.
The best way to get that prior experience, Halloway said, is through an internship.
“Get an internship position with a company within your field of study even if it is an unpaid one,” she said. “Because it gets your foot in the door. It allows you to hone some real life experience, work experience skills, develop that and network from there.”
Within Wichita alone, there are several organizations that allow for networking opportunities for young professionals.
“Take advantage of business organizations like the Wichita Independent Business Association. Come to our monthly luncheons, come to our mixers, meet these business owners. Our members are all owners of businesses,” Halloway said.
Before Halloway became president of WIBA, she was a partner at Right Recruiting, which recruits permanent full-time employees for local Wichita businesses.
In her experience, Halloway said, joining organizations such as WIBA can give someone a foot in the door and can lead to opportunities down the road.
Another local organization known for networking opportunities is the Young Professionals of Wichita.
YPW is a perfect fit for someone who may still be looking for that first entry-level position, according Suzy Finn, the YPW executive director.
The group allows people to engage with other young professionals and practice workplace skills such as managing peers, negotiating with vendors and planning and executing events.
If joining an organization doesn’t sound appealing, the best advice, Finn said, is to just do something in the community.
“Think about what they’re interested in and passionate about and find opportunities to get involved in the community that way,” she said. “Building those networks and those relationships is going to be key to both finding that first job and moving up within the company and being able to move around within the community beyond that first job.”