Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

An Empirical Study about the Critical Factors Affecting MIS Students' Job Opportunities

Academic journal article Journal of Information Technology Education

An Empirical Study about the Critical Factors Affecting MIS Students' Job Opportunities

Article excerpt

Introduction and Literature Review

Students and faculty in higher education are attempting to improve student job placement in the current economy climate. In the MIS area students and faculty have faced an even more difficult situation because of the information technology (IT) offshore outsourcing in recent years and the downward trend in the economy. A survey by the National Association of College and Employers found that 42.4 percent of employers indicated that they expect to cut college hiring (Lee, 2003). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of unemployed workers between the age of 20 and 24 is 1.4 million, up 60 percent from four years ago. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are now 212,000 unemployed computer and mathematics professionals (Keefe, 2003). Today's graduating seniors are no longer under any delusion. A survey by job-search website found that 61 percent of college graduating seniors expected to move in with their parents (Chen, 2003). Since the end of the dotcom boom, unemployment among IT professionals has soared, reaching 6.5% in March 2003 (Chabrow, 2003). Most observers believe that offshore outsourcing, immigration, and continued pressure to lower costs denote that white-collar workers will continue to struggle to find new employers. These factors generally hit the software field harder than other technical fields (Costlow, 2003).

Internship experiences and multiple majors have surfaced as important factors that may positively improve the job placement of MIS students (Fang, Lee, Huang, & Lee, 2004). Internships offer a mutually beneficial experience for companies and students (Pianko, 1996). Academicians, practitioners, and students themselves have widely extolled the benefits of internships, defined as structured and career relevant work experiences obtained by students prior to graduation from academic programs (Taylor, 1988). Knouse (1999) and Schambach and Kephart (1997) suggest that internships during college offer a variety of benefits to students, such as increasing opportunities for finding jobs upon graduation, reinforcing the skills learned from courses, and gaining better understanding of organizations and solidifying career focus. However, empirical support for the benefits of internships is not extensive. Though several studies have reported that internships yield high job satisfaction and favorable employment opportunities for participants, they have rarely controlled for potential confounds, such as the nature of the internship and whether internships provide additional full-time job offers, and other important factors, such as single versus double majors, timing of MIS major declaration, gender difference, grade point average, etc. Also, the evidence for the employment value of supplementary experience has been found only in research with limited samples (Fuller & Schoenberger, 1991), and with limited controls on factors such as ability (Sagen, 2000) and major. Further research is needed to examine how these factors translate into job opportunities, specifically in the field of MIS.

Hypotheses Development

This research project is designed to investigate the relationship between full-time MIS job opportunities and other factors, such as internships, double majors, grade point average, etc. A survey instrument (see Appendix) has been designed to investigate the following hypotheses:

H 1: Students who have had an MIS internship have the same number of MIS full-time job offers as students who have had no MIS internship.

As the study by Gault, Redington, and Schlager (2000) indicated, three terms are commonly used to delineate higher-education programs that involve learning through employment in industry: cooperative extension, cooperative education, and internship. Cooperative extension programs denote state-sponsored agricultural work experiences; therefore, these programs are not included in this study. …

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