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6 Companies Hiring New Grads

In our informal survey, we found employers that have entry-level jobs with decent pay and good benefits.

Editor's Note: Tina E. Korbe contributed to the writing of this article.

For the class of 2009, jumping into the job market is like diving into the swimming pool on the first hot day of summer: For a few seconds, you're exhilarated. But once you're in the water, you're just plain shocked.

How cold is that water? Bone-chilling. Fewer than one in five graduating students who were seeking jobs had landed one by May, according to a study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) -- versus more than half of those graduating in 2007, the last comparable survey. Fewer employers are hiring students right out of school according to the study, and, what's even more discouraging, about half say they have no plans for hiring anytime soon.


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Result: Recent grads with no offers may have to broaden their search beyond their career path, at least temporarily, says Mimi Collins, of NACE. "They need to be flexible and open-minded." The good news is that grads who take that advice can find entry-level jobs with decent pay, good benefits and employee-friendly cultures at these six companies.


Container Store. Your organizational skills may be stuck at the pile system, but this company's extensive training program will point you in the right direction, and the employee discount of 40% off merchandise will motivate you to finally replace those milk crates. New grads scrambling to get their life in order will surely appreciate the Container Store's comprehensive health-care coverage, which kicks in after one month and the 401(k) plan, available to both full- and part-time employees after 11 months with the company.

4,000 employees; 47 locations;

Starbucks. Despite recent store closures, Starbucks continues to hire baristas, the better to get the rest of us up and running for the day. Work at least 20 hours a week and you qualify for perks that include comprehensive health coverage (generally after three months), access to a 401(k) plan and a chance to buy company stock at a discount. After a year, you also qualify for tuition reimbursement and paid vacation. Baristas who need their own caffeine fix can dip into the free pound of coffee they take home weekly.

As for pay, starting wages outpace the minimum wage. If you pull a good shot and pour a great grande, you can earn a merit increase of up to 12% within the first year of employment and up to 4% every six months thereafter.


128,000 U.S. employees; 11,466 U.S. locations;

Target. This retailer, known for its stylish, well-priced products, expects to hire 3,300 college grads for full-time, entry-level positions in 2009, about the same number as in previous years. Employees working as few as 20 hours a week qualify for comprehensive health care within three months. Target employees also get paid vacations and reimbursement for job-related college courses (up to $3,000 a year for undergraduate courses and up to $4,000 a year for graduate-level courses). After 1,000 hours of service, you can join the 401(k) plan, which matches employee contributions up to 5% of salary.

Target also offers employees a 10% discount on merchandise and arranges for discounts on everything from gym memberships to child care to cell phone plans.

350,000 employees; 1,699 locations;


UPS. UPS hires about 2,000 part-time package handlers a month. As a handler, you won't get to drive around town and wave at customers; instead, you'll load trucks inside an operating center. But so what? After you've been with the company for a year, UPS hands you this sweet package: comprehensive health insurance, two weeks' vacation, discounted stock offerings and tuition reimbursement of up to $3,000 a year (in 51 locations).

415,000 employees (345,000 U.S.); 1,801 operating facilities, plus retail outlets;

Wegmans Food Markets. This family-owned company offers entry-level positions in everything from food preparation to management, and college grads are grabbing them, says Chris Beato, the recruitment manager. "They want to get their foot in the door." The chain, which operates in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland, offers a family atmosphere and room for promotion, says Beato, who started working at the company as a teenager and returned after college, 16 years ago. "Wegmans takes care of its own."

That includes providing comprehensive medical coverage to full-time employees (part-timers who work at least 20 hours a week generally qualify after a year of service), along with paid vacation time. After a year, you can join the 401(k) plan, which kicks in 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to 6% of salary. If you take classes in your off hours, Wegmans rewards your initiative with scholarships that cover up to half the tuition, with a limit of $1,500 annually.


38,000 employees; more than 70 locations;

Whole Foods Market. When Aspen Lewis, a psychology major, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the spring, her Plan B became Plan A in about the time it takes to munch an apple -- an organic apple, that is. "I could see that it wasn't going to be easy to get a job," says Lewis. "When I saw that Whole Foods was a possibility, I was excited because it's a place that treats you well."

Here's how well. After 400 hours of service, employees who work at least 30 hours a week qualify for health insurance (with a $1,500 deductible) and get a chance to buy company stock at a discount; after they clock 800 hours, the company picks up the entire premium on health coverage. After six months, you get a wellness account with an annual company contribution starting at $300 and topping out at $1,800 based on years of service.

Every employee receives a 20% discount on merchandise and up to ten paid days off a year, and most qualify for profit-sharing. If you stick around long enough, you could end up as top banana, says Lewis, who works in the regional office and as a cashier. "There's incredible room for opportunity."

51,000 employees; about 270 locations;