Finance recruitment ads in college papers decline
As the job market slowly recovers and hiring at financial institutions remains low, college newspapers are feeling the impact of decreased advertising from financial institutions.
With high on-campus readership, college newspapers are typically courted by businesses looking for future employees or interns. J.P. Morgan Chase and CitiBank, who advertised in the The Daily Princetonian for the last time in 2011 and 2010 respectively, were among large financial institutions that paid for regular advertisements to recruit college students.
Recruitment advertising in Ivy League college newspapers has dropped significantly over the past several years, possibly signaling less employer enthusiasm to hire students straight out of college.
“The financial crisis in 2008 caused major national companies to really look at their budgets closely and really cut costs wherever they could,” Junior Gardiner Kreglow, publisher for The Dartmouth, said. “Money for, say, recruiting ads in college newspapers was one of the first things to go, and things just don’t come back as quickly as you like.”
In fact, the ‘Prince’ received ten times more in recruitment advertising revenue in 2011 than in 2012 according to Business Manager Alex Gerson ‘13. But the 2011 revenue was still less than one-third of what it was before 2008.
The decrease in recruiting for both full-time jobs and internships resulted because businesses hired previous interns for full-time jobs and also decreased efforts to host new interns, Gerson explained.
Daniel Smullyan, a 25-year employee of the Columbia Daily Spectator and its current Advertising Manager, also observed noticeable changes in advertising revenue over the past decade.
According to Smullyan, advertising from large corporations used to represent a significant portion of their advertising revenue.
“At its height — probably around 2000 during the dot-com period — we had a tremendous amount of recruitment ads. People were hiring all over the place,” Smullyan said. “Now we get very few. I’d say it’s ten percent what it was ten to twelve years ago.”
Several other Ivy League newspapers have expressed similar drop-offs in recruitment advertising, including the The Cornell Daily Sun, The Harvard Crimson and The Daily Pennsylvanian.
Although revenue has picked up somewhat since 2008, this can be a misleading indicator of hiring practices. According to Gerson, businesses have turned to other ways to reach out to students, such as through TigerTracks, Princeton’s online job listings.
Smullyan also attributes the drop in revenue to changes in journalism, especially the shift from print to digital media.
“Print advertising is definitely drying up, period. It’s not just recruitment,” Smullyan said. “Print advertising is just not nearly in the demand that it once was.”
Still, another barrier to regaining recruitment advertisements is the loss of established contacts for campus newspapers due to corporate personnel changes made after the financial crisis.
“The [new personnel] are not used to advertising,” Gerson said. They don’t know that they used to advertise; they don’t remember the results that they used to get by advertising with us.”
However, some publications have compensated for the loss in national and recruitment advertising by focusing more on local and online advertisements. For example, The Daily Pennsylvanian has used this opportunity to launch a mobile app.
These new sources of revenue have allowed businesses to do well despite the economic downturn. According to Cornell Daily Sun’s Advertising Manager James Critelli ’13, recruitment advertising did not constitute a large part of general advertising in the past, so the decline did not strongly affect revenue.