ShareThis Page
Hire calling |

Hire calling

| Monday, August 13, 2007 12:00 a.m

When she walked through job fairs her senior year of college, Lauren Keating couldn’t go far without being flagged down by a recruiter.

“People were literally grabbing me, saying, ‘come talk to us,'” recalled Keating, 22, of Elizabeth Township. “Companies were very aggressive — I’d give them my resume one day and have them calling me the next day.”

She graduated in the spring from Penn State, and landed a job as a civil engineer with U.S. Steel. The company is one of eight Pittsburgh-area companies to make’s list of the Top 500 entry-level companies.

All of the local companies on the list predicted they’d hire either the same number or more entry-level employees this year than last. Rick Brown, chief operating officer of recruitment firm O’Connor, O’Connor and Lordi said he expects that trend to continue.

“If we look back at the last decade, we’ve seen tremendous economic highs and lows,” Brown said. Until recently, companies were looking to become leaner, and did less hiring across the board, he said.

“But now with senior leadership getting close to retirement age, companies need to invest in their futures, and hire younger people,” Brown said. “They need to fill the stable.”

Heidi Hanisko, of, said it has surveyed companies on their hiring predictions since 1998.

“We do follow up with them before we start the next year’s survey,” Hanisko said. “Their numbers are usually pretty close. Established companies tend to have a pretty good idea of who they need and who they’ll be able to hire.”

Sixty percent of the Top 500 companies plan to hire more college graduates this year. And while the phrase “entry-level job” might not sound that glamorous, Jana Sharlow, director of management training at Eat ‘n Park, came up through the ranks there, starting in the management training program.

“It’s really important to get that foot in the door,” Sharlow said. According to company spokesman Kevin O’Connell, 50 percent of Eat ‘n Park’s upper management came up through the ranks like Sharlow did.

PNC Financial Services predicted it would hire 1,350 entry-level employees, up from last year’s figure of 1,030.

According to spokeswoman Michelle Deemer, about 100 of PNC’s new hires for 2007 have been selected for leadership opportunities. The company aims to promote from within, and hires both undergrads and recent MBA graduates for leadership training roles. Fifty percent of its leadership hires come from its internship program.

John Armstrong, spokesman for U.S. Steel, said the company expects to exceed its estimate of 240 entry-level hires. They’re looking for college graduates with degrees in engineering, business, operations and information technology.

U.S. Steel’s entry-level hiring has increased over the past two years; in 2005, it made 85 hires according to the poll, and last year, 206 entry-level employees joined the staff.

It’s strategic hiring, said Maggy Barna, U.S. Steel’s manager of recruiting and college relations.

“Over the next three to five years, many of our experienced management employees will be retiring,” she explained. In order to keep the talent pipeline flowing, the company needs to get some new people trained and ready to take over when the middle-managers move into the senior positions being vacated.

A similar situation exists at PPG, said John Coyne, manager of corporate recruiting. There just aren’t as many members of the Gen-X population to fill the senior management roles, and even fewer people behind them, Coyne said. The company might hire slightly more entry-level employees than it predicted to, he said.

“That has increased significantly over our target of last year,” he said. “It’s a good time to be graduating in one of the hot majors — engineering, accounting and the hard sciences. Those graduates will be grabbed up very quickly, and salaries in those fields will escalate.”

Who’s hiring?

Companies and how many college grads they plan to hire this year in the Pittsburgh area.

84 Lumber: 1,700

PNC Financial Services Group: 1,350

Education Management Corporation: 625

US. Steel: 240

Alcoa: 200

Westinghouse Electric Company: 150

Eat N Park Hospitality Group: 110

PPG Industries: 75

Bayer HealthCare: 60


Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.