For 2010 College graduates, employment opportunities were bleak. While better than 2008, graduates with BAs increasingly found openings only in fields that their AA, and even high school diploma candidates could have landed.
While there are a few high paying jobs that don’t require a college degree, most of these graduates aren’t landing those…they’re landing jobs in retail, as baristas, and even office assistants.
Northeastern University, a prestigious school in Boston, recently did a study on graduate’s employment in the economic downtown. Andrew Sum, an economics professor who led the study, had this to say to the New York Times:
“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.”
Studying federal labor statistics from the BLS, Sum found that only a little more than half of recent college graduates, who were 25 years old or younger, were working in jobs that actually required a college degree.
That number is down from 59% of graduates who were working lower paying jobs before the recession.
My advice? Don’t get complacent, and don’t settle. Taking a retail sales job (or something similar) is a perfectly respectable way to pay your bills and start to work of your student debt. However, don’t come home from that job, watch tv, play around on facebook, watch the Daily Show and then go to bed. Sure, you can survive your low cost lifestyle on $10 per hour, but the money won’t go so far as you grow up, and you’ll have lost your opportunity to get your foot in the door. In your non-working hours, consider an unpaid internship or other job training programs. Don’t go back to school to get a masters (yet) but learn critical skills that may help you get hired. Graphic design, web development, and other computer based skills are in high demand…take this time and learn!
Finally, as is always my advice, start networking! Ask people in industries you’re interested in to get coffee, and ask for their advice (not for a job). You’ll be amazed what may start to happen when you put your self out there.