By Mike Anthony
IBM Canada shed its stuffy corporate image last weekend for more than 3,000 visiting university and college students from across southern Ontario.
The corporation held its third-annual campus career fair on Saturday. About 30 Ryerson students caught an early morning bus from Ryerson to IBM’s Markham office, where they found out how competitive today’s job market is.
The $78.5 billion-corporation bussed in students from as far as London and Kingston to give them a glimpse of the more than 300 positions opening up across Canada.
During the fair IBM tried hard to shed its corporate image with balloons, prizes, free food and loud music on hand. At times the office’s atrium was so crowded people had a hard time moving.
The 400 employees running the fair all wore corporate golf shirts and casual pants, and were told to address students by their first names.
“We’re really trying to change the image of IBM for these students,” said Mario DeMeo, who works in marketing and communications. “It’s pretty casual here.”
But for some students, free pizza and lollipops did little to hide the fact there are few high-paying jobs for students fresh out of university or college.
Third-year Ryerson student Justin Bogers said seeing a few thousand people applying for 300 jobs was disheartening. “It’s somewhat intimidating. It seems like everyone here is from Western,” said the 21-year-old business information major.
De Meo said he couldn’t believe the turnout was more than triple last year’s attendance. “This is a great opportunity for young people who want meaningful careers.”