Prospects for new Graduates from College in 2011
The New York Times is running a piece entitled Many With New College Degree Find The Job Market Humbling. It appears that since the economic decline many graduates have been forced to take jobs at lower pay. The article notes that the average starting salary for a recent graduate dropped from $30,000 to $27,000 citing this survey from Rutgers. The article goes on:
Of course, these are the lucky ones — the graduates who found a job. Among the members of the class of 2010, just 56 percent had held at least one job by this spring, when the survey was conducted. That compares with 90 percent of graduates from the classes of 2006 and 2007. (Some have gone for further education or opted out of the labor force, while many are still pounding the pavement.)
Indeed it seems the prospects of many graduates looks bleak. The article goes on to explain that many graduates are working in fields completely unrelated to their major and/or working in fields that don't even require education at all.
While all of that is certainly worrisome I believe the article does give some sound advice towards the end.
Going back to school does offer the possibility of joining the labor force when the economy is better. Unemployment rates are also generally lower for people with advanced schooling.
And while young people who have weathered a tough job market may shy from risks during their careers, the best way to nullify an unlucky graduation date is to change jobs when you can, says Till von Wachter, an economist at Columbia.
“If you don’t move within five years of graduating, for some reason you get stuck where you are. That’s just an empirical finding,” Mr. von Wachter said. “By your late 20s, you’re often married, and have a family and have a house. You stop the active pattern of moving jobs.”
Personal experience says this is sound advice. Going to school is certainly a risk. There is no guarantee that by the time you graduate job prospects will be any better, yet doing so can open doors that are shut to anyone else. My wife, for instance, entered a field that requires not only a college degree, but a masters degree in that field. So while there was no guarantee she did end up in field where, despite the downturn in the economy, prospects are high. My advice here is to only choose this option if you are certain what you want to do with that degree. Going for more schooling just to delay the inevitable won't solve your problem and will only mount more debt. But if you are focused and getting a degree for a specific purpose/job then it will likely end in success.
And finally taking the risk and moving. I've given this advice to friends before. Living in IL was easy for me, I grew up there, but moving was the biggest risk I ever took. We packed our bags and headed for Boston. At the time I didn't even have a job. My parents thought it was a doomed decision and overall the risk was extremely high. I landed a job half way between IL and Boston, God is good. And in the end this has been the best decision for my career. Boston has so many more opportunities and I've broken through the entry level into higher positions. That said my story didn't have to end this way. It could have turned out different. I was moving just as the economy was tanking and a risk wouldn't be a risk without some ones story ending very differently. Still with the risk comes the reward. Sometimes you just have to jump and watch God work. I'm certain that while life was comfortable in IL if I hadn't have moved I would have gotten stuck with fewer opportunities then I have now.
To the 2011 grad God is is good. He'll take care of you if you trust in him. But don't be afraid to take risks. Don't be afraid to move to that unknown place or take that job. Sometimes you just have to jump and see where you land. May God bless.