The current job market for college graduates is not bad

Tech giants such as Facebook and Google are battling antitrust laws that cut perks, slow hiring and could collapse the world’s most valuable companies. Add in the impending global recession and it may seem like a bad time for new graduates to get the most sought-after jobs, or jobs at all. , and misunderstands the hiring economy they’re trying to enter.

Jobs – even technical ones – are plentiful. And what matters to new graduates isn’t what used to be a priority.

Instead, students whose college experience was marred by the deadly pandemic have a different set of values ​​than those who came before it. They need jobs that embrace diversity and a good work-life balance. New graduates are also not afraid to ask for what they want. Many of them may get it.

Nicole Hall, Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduate and Graduate Students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, told Recode: She said students are confident they will get the job they want.

Even after the August dip, there were over 10 million job openings. That’s about 1.7 job openings for everyone looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is 3.7% for him, just above the 50-year low of 3.5%. The headlines differ from the facts when it comes to high-profile tech layoffs. Crowdsourcing site, which tracks company downsizing, found 83,000 tech layoffs this year, according to CompTIA’s annual report.

Chart: There are 1.7 job openings per unemployed person looking for work.

The job market for graduates remains very strong. A study earlier this year by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) released this week found that undergraduates receive an average of 1.14 job offers before graduation. This is the highest number since before the Great Recession. Another of his NACE surveys said last spring that employers plan to hire about 32% more graduates from the 2022 class than they hired from the 2021 class. So, in addition to the abundance of jobs, there are other options.

All things considered, graduating college students share a sense of optimism and demand more from their jobs than previous graduates. A recent survey of her 2023-graduating students by Her Handshake, one of the major site’s college students, found that while these young people feel uncertain about their future, I am confident that I will get the job I want. Used for job search. Nearly 80% say they believe they can find a well-paid and rewarding job. Nearly 90% believe they can get the job in the industry of their choice.

That doesn’t mean they’re taking a chance. Students are applying for more jobs early, and nearly half of Handshake respondents say the economy has caused them to fill out more applications. A career counselor told her Recode that job fairs were well attended and career counseling he was queuing outside the center’s door.

Gwen McKee, a 2023 master’s degree student in Information Technology at the University of Michigan, studying UX design, has already applied for about 30 jobs. She says she is worried about outsourcing in her field and her hiring freeze.

“The job I want to apply for is next year, but I’m freaking out, so I’m applying a lot now,” McKee said.

Her fears may be unjustified. College counselors say they should advise students on how to counter multiple offers.

And the outlook for new graduates is very different from the last generation to graduate during the major recessions of 2008 and 2009. Kelly Smith, who at the time was in his service at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in his career, said the students were so disappointed they didn’t. I don’t even bother applying for jobs that existed.

“It wasn’t a great job market for our students, but still, you would think it was just them asking for campus interviews,” she said. I postponed activities, went to graduate school, traveled, and got a job other than my degree.

Not so these days. A mix of anxiety and optimism drives students to try harder.

“On the first day of class, the walk-ins were completely full. Our appointment was backed up for almost a week,” said Smith, now acting director of the Career Center at Binghamton University.

Increasingly, these students have a good idea of ​​what they want from their jobs.

What to expect from new graduates

Tech jobs have certainly grown in popularity in recent years, reflecting wide-ranging changes in the economy and where high-paying jobs are. From 2016 to 2021, the percentage of Columbia Business School’s MBA graduates accepting jobs in technology and media jumped from 10% to 17%, while all other industries declined.

But technology is not final for students. Also, big brand names are not so important. Students are interested in making an impact in their work and in whatever industry they are in, doing work that is meaningful and makes the world a better place.

As UNC’s Hall summarized, “Yes, I do finance, but I’d rather work for a company that I know is doing something good in the world.”

Over the past decade or so, many of the professional traits of students have remained the same, while other, more idealistic traits, such as secure employment and quality benefits, have come to the fore. According to NACE research, some of the most important qualities 2022 graduates are looking for in a job are an organization that embraces diversity and an organization that provides the ability to make the world a better place. Salary dropped him to 11th place. That’s not to say it doesn’t matter — all other things being equal, students say the pay is tied — but it’s not their primary desire.

Echoing the national conversation, students are more concerned than ever about work-life balance.

Gabe, a mathematical finance major who will graduate from a liberal arts college in Texas this spring, said he has applied for more than 100 jobs. In the world of finance, where a young analyst is known to put in 80 or 100 hours a week, this is difficult to achieve.

“60 is my absolute maximum. Frankly, I’d rather choose 50 or 40. 40 would be best,” he said, avoiding using his last name so as not to affect his job search. Asked Gabe said.

About half of graduates say they want to work in a hybrid work-from-home environment, and another 11% want to work entirely remotely, according to NACE. They believe that working from home allows them to achieve a healthy work-life balance by eliminating the need to commute.

Many of these desires are born from the last few years of life. For some, the global pandemic and its deaths have emphasized that life is short and that you should do what you enjoy, both at work and outside the office. The murder of George Floyd by police and subsequent social justice movements like Black Lives Matter solidified students’ desire to fight for justice and put all of themselves to work. The record corporate profits they faced informed their mindset of equity and informed them how their potential bosses would behave if the economy went south.

Alexios Avrassoglou, a senior in industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan, looks at how companies have treated their employees during the pandemic as a way of deciding where he wants to work.

“I’ve seen companies that have enough money, enough money, other enough assets, and they’re still laying people off. It’s a common financial decision, but always It’s not necessary,” he said.

The growing demand of graduates for progressive workplaces, coupled with a tight job market, has led students to increasingly evaluate companies to see if they are a cultural fit and where they truly fit. It’s designed to see if you feel you can influence.

Beyond corporate clichés, students, along with their graduated friends, are increasingly leveraging platforms like Handshake and Glassdoor to find out what companies are like beyond what they say.

Students have these questions all the time, says Larry Jackson, interim senior associate director of the Career Center at UC Berkeley. It’s just that the world has changed and they feel more comfortable asking questions.

“Conversations have become more common over the past few years,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t feel like any kind of terrain is really confusing.”

In general, new graduates seem to have a better idea of ​​what they want than previous generations. Employers are generally looking to upsell corporate culture and provide options for these graduates to test different areas of the company or lead different initiatives to ensure compliance. They encourage them to be open about who they are and what’s important to them, hoping to fill seats in a tough job economy.

Of course, if the economy really takes a turn for the worse, it could change the prospects of graduates and turn whatever they need into something useful. But even if the economy goes up and down, their desire to get more out of their jobs probably won’t change. They graduate with a range of experiences and a vocabulary for those experiences and a willingness to use them.

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