Job Forecast for College Seniors: Grimmer Than Ever

When I saw that headline on CNN.com from an article written for Time Magazine, I felt my heart sink. I am already well aware that we are currently in an economic downturn, but this hit close to home. My son, Evan will be graduating college this May and will be a part of this story.

According to a survey cited in a report put out by the National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE), companies are planning to hire 22% fewer college grads from the Class of 2009 than they hired from the Class of 2008.

For many, Plan B (moving home with parents) is now becoming a grim reality. Speaking as a parent of a soon to be graduate, I can say this is equally disheartening for parents as it is for students!! Another popular alternative to entering the job market is joining the Peace Corps, Teach for America or volunteering overseas. These alternatives provide great experiences in addition to fulfilling worldwide humanitarian needs.

Job prospects for college grads, which had been on the rise since 2004, dropped in virtually every sector this year. The most dramatic decline was, not surprisingly, in finance. More surprising and troubling is the expected decline in areas such as accounting and engineering. The only area planning on hiring more grads this year than last is the government. This is due in part to a new administration expanding as well as an aging workforce retiring.

Many college seniors will be forced to accept internships instead of paid employment or take jobs in fields that require little or no college education. Some students would perhaps wish to stay in school for an advanced degree. This option, however, is becoming less appealing as graduates don’t relish the thought of taking on more debt while the job market is looking so grim.

One thing that college seniors may have over those who have been laid off, though, is that their lack of experience means they don’t command as high of a salary. Some employers are looking at this as a potential asset. Though the time used for training should be taken into consideration.

I’ve been reminded that things were tough back when I graduated from the University of Maryland in 1982.Though in retrospect, I don’t remember having a hard time and I never moved back home with my family. And then of course 10 short years later, I found myself at Media Works and I guess you could say the rest it history!!

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