The Job Market for New Grads

A news report on the job market for college grads was on the wires this week. The projections for the job market for new grads are one of the most optimistic in years. With a good economy and low unemployment, the nation is adding jobs and businesses are looking to college grads to help fill the gaps. Baby boomers are starting to retire also which frees up some room at the top to move people up the ladder, bringing space at the bottom for those just out of school.

Engineers and IT pro’s are hot commodities of course, but the report also notes that liberal arts majors are finding better success in nabbing that first job, too. Not having any particular direction in mind coming out of school may not be such a handicap as in years past. The hot market provides graduates with an opportunity to test the waters in areas that interest them without feeling locked in for life.

Students who are still in school are also finding good summer employment opportunities. Of course, companies who hire interns have already locked those candidates in by the time spring rolls around but general employment opportunities also look good. Volunteer work is also a good option while still working toward your degree because you can gain great experience and start building a network while still working on your degree.

I personally know a young lady who graduates this week with a Doctor of Juris Prudence from Vanderbilt University. She has always been a top-notch student but she spent last summer in an international program working in Africa as part of a humanitarian organization. Following graduation this week, she will be clerking for a prominent judge for several months and then she has a job waiting for her in Washington, DC with a large international law firm. Astoundingly, her starting annual salary is $250,000. Sure, she is smart but the connections she has made “politically” during her summer work and through her interest in international affairs led directly to her new employment.

On the flip side of the equation, I saw a news report this week that noted the quality of students applying to teacher education programs at major universities is dropping. It seems the best and the brightest don’t want to be in the classroom but would rather chase better salaries, better benefits, and better working conditions in the corporate world. The shortage of math and science teachers is growing and the demand for special education teachers is up. Is teaching rapidly becoming one of those jobs that “Americans won’t do” along with landscaping, construction, and domestic services?

What does all this mean for the seasoned employee who is looking to move up the ladder or find a new job with a different employer that offers better salary or benefits? Hiring at the bottom of the ladder usually bodes well for everyone in the race because it shows willingness by employers to hire, promote, and mentor employees. All in all, the job market looks really good right now. Barring another 9/11, most job seekers will enjoy good success over the next six months.

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