Finding a Job: The Graduate’s Next Big Challenge
Graduation’s over, and you’ve got your college degree. Can you land a job with what you’ve learned over the past four years? For many students, the job market is more competitive than ever.
• 27 percent: The percentage of college graduates who actually secured a job in their field, according to a 2013 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
• 83 percent: The percentage of students who graduated in 2014 that didn’t have a job lined up, according to a 2014 AfterCollege Insights survey
• 14 percent: The percentage of 2015 college graduates that have real jobs lined up, according to a 2015 AfterCollege survey
Men are slightly more likely to land a job than their female counterparts.
• 18 percent: The percentage of male college graduates who were able to secure a job after graduation, according to a 2015 AfterCollege survey
• 11 percent: The percentage of female college graduates who found jobs right after college, according to a 2015 AfterCollege survey
However, employment numbers are slowly rising according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In February 2015, approximately 51,996 people over the age of 25 who had a bachelor’s degree were gainfully employed. A year later, that number had risen to 53,112 people.
Having a degree does still give new job seekers an edge. The National Center for Education Statistics found in 2014 that undergraduates between the ages of 20 to 24 with a bachelor’s degree were more likely to find a job than those with some college education, or those with a high school degree.
• 88.1 percent: The percentage of employed college graduates
• 75 percent: The percentage of people employed with some college study
• 63.7 percent: The percentage of people employed with a high school diploma
• 46.6 percent: The percentage of people employed with some high school study
Making the Break Easier
College advisors often tell students to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along. That can include internships, work studies, or job shadowing. A 2015 AfterCollege survey found just 25 percent of students were able to turn internships into real jobs. If you did one or some (or even all) of those things and are still turning up empty handed, consider looking outside the box to get your career jump started.
• Go digital with your resume and portfolio. Elance found that millennials were more likely to land a gig by keeping their LinkedIn profile updated or having a free website to highlight their skills or showcase samples. The Elance survey found that 56 percent of job searchers got the job with a digital portfolio, while 44 percent floated around a traditional paper resume.
• Act as a consultant or freelancer. Have skills but can’t find full-time work? Temp jobs can allow you to get more experience and could lead to a full time job down the road. Many Millennials would rather work for themselves, with 54 percent of them dreaming of starting their own business or already having one, according to a 2011 Elance survey. This can be a tricky option if you’re already balancing student loans, so do your research before quitting your day job.
• Relocate. Even established professionals are picking up and moving to new places for better job opportunities, with 35 percent growth in 2013 alone, according to a survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. College graduates have an age-related advantage, though, considering they may not be tied down with a partner or family yet, so look at surrounding states for job opportunities that fit your degree and skill level.
Was It Worth It?
Despite the uphill battle, most recent college graduates are positive and think their efforts will pay off eventually. Pew Research Center surveyed a variety of college graduates, including Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials. Here’s the breakdown on how each group felt about their degree:
• 89 percent of Boomers felt their degree had paid off over the years
• 84 percent of Gen Xers said their degree has paid off
• 62 percent of Millennials feel their degree has paid off so far