More companies eliminating entry-level jobs

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

Tyler Levan loves his job at a digital marketing and public relations agency, despite his trial-by-fire start.

"Instead of a training period, I was actually just thrown right into several projects. You definitely needed to come in and be ready to work and be ready to learn at a fast pace to keep up," he said.

LeVan credits the time he spent in an office setting as an undergrad for giving him the skills to survive.

"I had done writing as well as I had also done consulting in a past internship and sales, so I think that that helped," he added.

Society for Human Resource Management Executive Director Mark Schmit said LeVan is far from alone when it comes to minimal training and massive expectations on the job.

"Employers really are today seeking someone who's got the skills to hit the ground running," he explained.

Schmit points out a few reasons for the change.

"The recession had a large impact on the training available within the organizations," he said. "It's oftentimes one of the first things to be cut in the operational budgets, is training, and it's also one of the slowest things to come back."

A recent government study found there are fewer entry-level jobs now available. During the recent recession and recovery, employers were able to fill those positions with people who had more experience than required.

"So, between 2007 and 2012, we looked at online job posting data from several large databases and found that employers are requiring more years of education and more years of experience, particularly in medium skill occupations, so these are occupations that typically require only an associates degree or one or two years of experience, but we've found that those experience requirements are increasing over time," explained economist Dr. Alicia Sasser-Modestino, who co-authored the study.

Researchers point out this may adjust as the economy changes, but until that happens, what does this mean for young people entering the work force today? 

"I'm not sure it means the end of entry-level jobs, but it probably does change the nature of those jobs over time, and it's something that students, colleges and workforce development training agencies need to keep a focus on," said Sasser-Modestino.

Which is what LeVan did, and he said it worked out well in his case.

"I think that by being pushed in those different directions, it's definitely helped me," he added.

Sasser-Modestino said another reason for the decline in training is that employees now move around, both between cities and jobs, more than the past. Companies now have less of an incentive to do the training up front.

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