Sluggish economy hurts students looking for on-campus jobs

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    By David Scott

    BYU students are not immune to the effects of a sluggish economy as many students struggle to find on-campus work.

    BYU employs about 12,700 students and offers more than 15,000 jobs on campus, yet many students struggle to find a job to help pay the bills.

    “It”s bad this year,” said Erin Simons, a senior from Damascus, Md., majoring in art history. “I”ve been coming in every fall semester for four years and I have always been able to find a job. It has never taken me this long to find a job.”

    The difficulty of finding a job on campus can be directly related to a strong or weak economy.

    Mary O”Neill, assistant manager of the Student Employment Office, said more students stayed in on-campus jobs over the summer than have done so in previous years.

    “Mom and Dad don”t have the jobs that they had before,” said Mary O”Neill, assistant manager of the student employment office. “There were a lot of students that did not leave for spring and summer, they stayed to retain the job that they had so that they could have that lucrative job when they get back. Many of the students have multiple jobs.”

    Keri Adams, a junior from Fairfield, Calif., majoring in public relations said she generally looks for clerical jobs on campus and tries to avoid custodial jobs.

    But with the tough economy, even the less attractive jobs like custodial jobs are hard to come by.

    “This year we only have 10 custodial jobs open campus-wide,” O”Neill said.

    Last year at this time, 46 custodial jobs were available to students.

    A poor economy may not be the only reason students are looking for jobs on campus and finding it difficult.

    “I”m looking for a job here because I don”t have a car,” said Robert Weight, a sophomore pre-dental major from Calgary, Canada. “My biggest problem are the hours, so many of the jobs are just Monday to Friday and I have some classes in the morning and other days I have evening classes and nothing ever fits into my schedule.”

    Despite having fewer on-campus jobs to choose from this semester, BYU students still fare better than students at other universities.

    Many universities across the nation employ worker unions rather than giving their jobs to students, O”Neill said. Union workers are more costly to employ and often negotiate contracts with the university for hefty increases. These pay increases cause strain on a university budget and can easily jack up tuition costs for a university.

    BYU also benefits from employing students on campus.

    “One of the reasons why BYU has so many student jobs is to keep tuition low,” O”Neill said. “It”s a two-way street, the students get jobs and because they are at a student level, then the tuition is lower, and plus it”s a good work experience.”

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