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Economy Pushes Grads to Stay in School

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Beverly Principal, assistant director of employment services at the Stanford Career Development Center, says close to half the members of the university's graduating engineering class typically go on to do a master's degree but estimates that this year, the percentage jumped to around 60 percent.

"It was the economy" that pushed more students into graduate work, says Principal. "And if you have a master's, you're also more marketable."

At San Jose State, only 33 percent of this spring's engineering grads reported having secured jobs, down from 53 percent in spring 2008, says the university. The data are preliminary, officials say, adding they don't yet have data on how many students chose to go on with additional studies.

More students tend to stay in school during poor economic cycles and flow back into the work force when the economy picks up.

Several engineering grads say they chose to stay in school largely because of last year's recession, which caused a fall-off in campus recruiting just as they were deciding what to do post-graduation. Job postings only began increasing this spring, say officials at Stanford, Berkeley and San Jose State University.

Among the companies actively recruiting on local campuses for engineering grads this past year were Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc. and Google Inc., say officials at Stanford and Berkeley. At Berkeley, social-networking site Facebook Inc. became an active recruiter in the last two years, says Tom Devlin, director of the career center there. At Stanford, electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc., which went public last month, also was active on campus for the first time this year, says Principal.

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Naylor, LLC