College/Career Fair Market Overview

Goals

To understand the college/career fair market, including revenue generation (e.g., how much they charge vendors or participating firms), profitability, scale, competitors, events hosted per year, and associated expenses.

Early Findings

REVENUE GENERATION

  • The California State University (CSU) system generates revenue by charging companies a per-table fee of anywhere from $175 at the Bakersfield campus to $900 at Cal Poly.
  • Searching the CSU financial statements does not provide enough information to determine if their career fairs would be deemed profitable.
  • The Minnesota Education Job Fair charges exhibitors for booth space, electricity, carpet, interviewing areas, and hospitality/lunch.
  • Most colleges charge fees to participating private-sector companies (77.4%), nonprofit organizations (71.2%), and government agencies (71.0%), according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
  • Colleges measure the success of their career fairs by the satisfaction of their students and participating employers, rather than a dollar amount. A Net Promotion Score (NPS) can be one way they assess this satisfaction.
  • Organizations that host college fairs (seeking college students) will charge a fee (perhaps $500) to participating schools.

NUMBER OF FAIRS PER YEAR

  • According to the summary of the 2017-18 NACE Career Services Benchmark Survey, 92% of colleges responding offer career fairs, holding an average of four fairs with 214 participating organizations.

EXPENSES

  • According to vFairs, a physical career fair will incur average costs associated with venue rental ($8,400), parking ($1,000), marketing ($5,500), technology ($1,000), insurance ($150), hospitality, such as catering ($4,200), staffing ($4,000), and event manager ($3,615), totaling $27,715. By comparison, a virtual fair may cost as little as $8,000.

COMPETITION

  • As most career fairs appear to be offered by colleges and universities for the benefit of their students, competition is likely occurring at a regional or state level. Therefore, identifying competitors likely is not feasible unless a specific geographic region is specified.
  • In terms of college fairs, competitors may include the NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counselors), but again the competition may be more regional.

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