New Graduates Entering the Workforce: What to Expect

Steven Greenhouse wrote up a timely piece for the NY Times today. It’s called ‘Glimmers of Hope’ for Grads. Right around this time of year you can expect this type of story. The premise of the story is that are a cadre of college graduates about to enter the workforce. Should they be optimistic? Is the US economy producing jobs for their talent level. There are theories about entering in a down economy versus a good one and lasting impact it has. Thankfully, Mr. Greenhouse added a whole bunch of stats I think are worthwhile. Here is my run down:

Summary (data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers and the Bureau of Labor Statistics :

  • 2010 is slightly better than 2009 as there is a 5% increase in hiring from a year ago
  • 2009 was down 20% from 2008 levels so the hiring rate is still lagging from earlier this decade
  • 24.4% of college graduates who applied for a job have one waiting post graduation. It was 19.7% last year
  • $47,673 is the average starting salary. Down 1.7% from last year. Average by area of study:
    • Computer Related = $58,746 (up 5.8%)
    • Finance Majors – $50,546 (up 1.6%)
    • Liberal Arts – $33,540 (down 8.9%)
  • Jobless rate for college graduates under age 25:
    • 8.0% in April 2010
    • 6.8% in April 2009
    • 3.7% in April 2007
  • The overall unemployment rate is 9.9%
  • Jobless rate for high school graduates under age 25 who did not enroll in college:
    • 24.5% in April 2010
    • 11.4% in April 2007
  • Deloitte, the consulting and accounting firm is hiring college graduates:
    • 5,300 in 2010
    • 4,800 in 2009
    • 5,400 in 2008

At Penn, university officials said, nearly 22 percent of this year’s graduates planned to attend graduate school, law school or medical school, up from 18 percent two years ago.

Many college graduates are finding jobs that do not require bachelor’s degrees, like retail clerk, office assistant or barista, he said. Using federal labor statistics, he has found that only 51 percent of college graduates under age 25 were working in jobs that require college educations, down from 59 percent in 2000.

“If you work in a job that doesn’t require a college degree, you’ll make 30 or 40 percent less,” he said. “One reason a lot of high school grads are having such a hard time is you have college grads willing to take jobs that high school grads used to get.”


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