Why College Grads Face A Tough Job Market

Employment rates and starting salaries for graduating college students entering the job market have fallen drastically in the last few years, according to an article in the New York Times.

Only 55.6% of 2009 college graduates found jobs that actually used their degrees; 22.4% are unemployed, and 22% are working jobs that do not use their college degrees. Students were surveyed in the spring; so these numbers could have changed by their graduation dates.

However, 90% of graduates in 2006-2007 had jobs (that were relevant to their degrees) during the spring before their graduation.

The median starting salary for 2009 and 2010 college graduates was $27,000, a decrease from $30,000 for 2006-2008 graduates, according to a study released by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Also, being forced into a job that doesn’t require a degree can put a young person’s career on the slow track. Taking a job in retail or at the local Wal Mart for a few years could make it incredibly difficult for a young person to get back into the professional job market.

Choosing the correct major can make all the difference. Education and teaching and engineering majors were more likely to land a job that was relevant to their degrees. However, Latin American Studies and humanities majors were less likely to find jobs requiring a college degree.

The employment rate (in jobs requiring a degree) for recent education graduates is 71.1%, compared to 44.7% for all area studies majors.

These figures will also make it more difficult for recent graduates to pay off student loan debts. The median amount of college loan debt is $20,000 for 2006-2007 graduates. Total debt is likely rise as many unemployed graduates will pursue further degrees just to get into the job market.

Unemployment rates are much lower for people with Master’s and Ph. D degrees. One way to avoid a bleak job market is to stay in school and pursue advanced degrees.