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April 26, 2012

Class of 2012′s Occupational Prospects: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: , 9:30 am

Depending on how you want to “spin” it, the Class of 2012 is either in for a “Rude awakening,” or a “Better job market than alumni of the previous three years.” 

The Associated Press reports that half of the students who will graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree in 2012 will be jobless or underemployed.  It’s no surprise that fields with highest projected growth and number of jobs are related to healthcare, information technology, and business. 

“Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

‘I don’t even know what I’m looking for,’ says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.”

I wonder if this graduate wishes his parents or someone else would have advised him to choose a different type of degree.  Or, maybe I’m jealous that I didn’t get to pursue my dream of creative writing.  Actually, I prefer the long route I took to earn my degree and I’ll save the creative writing for my free time.

On the other hand, it seems that more employers plan to hire recent college graduates than in the past three years.  According to the Careerbuilder.com/Harris Interactive survey, 54% reported they plan to hire recent college graduates (it’s a 9% increase over 2011).  Here’s no surprise: the most in-demand degrees are in business (39%), computer and information sciences (24%), and engineering (23%).  The demand for liberal arts and sciences degrees was at the bottom of the list (9%).

Of those employers who will hire recent graduates, 30% plan to offer between $30-40,000 as starting salary.  There was also a significant group (28%) who planned to extend offers exceeding $50,000.

If you know someone who will walk across the stage at high school graduation this spring, share this resource with him or her: the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.  It’s a comprehensive source of all types of occupations.  It may provide a good reality-check so that he or she will be less likely to face unemployment or underemployment in 4-5 years – not to mention a mountain of student loan debt.

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