Recent College Graduates Face Unemployment Rate of Almost 9 Percent
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Post secondary education, such as a college degree is more important than ever in an increasingly competitive job market. The jobless rate for recent high school graduates sits at 22.9 percent while 31.5 percent of high school dropouts do not have a job.
But while the numbers are dramatically better for college graduates, a Georgetown University publication shows unemployment rates for those who have recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree are still very high
And that is prompting new approaches by students and department heads.
Skeleton in ULM's Radiologic Technology Lab; Medical Technicans and those Trained in Medical Technologies with Some Experience Contend with Unemployment Rates of Just 2.1 Percent
Skeleton in ULM's Radiologic
Technology Lab; Medical Technicans
and those Trained in Medical Technologies
with Some Experience Contend with Unemployment
Rates of Just 2.1 Percent
College students are now getting ready to hit the books as the new academic term gets rolling after the holidays.
But some must be wondering if it’s worth the effort. As a whole, unemployment rates for new university graduates hover just below nine percent, but some subject majors fare better than others.
And so some students are planning to forgo their favorite subjects.
University of Louisiana at Monroe freshman, Vladimir Jakovljevic, says he’s willing to trade passion for pragmatism.
“We all need money and we need to work and to make our existence and everything. So, yeah a job is kind of like the most important thing.”
He hasn’t declared a major yet, but he’s looking for something with a payoff.
“Economics, or some kind of business; maybe finances, and I’m also considering mass communication. I heard it’s easy to find a job with that major.”
Communication sits at a 7.4% unemployment rate for new graduates.
That’s a little better than the average, but ULM’s interim director for career connections, Roslynn Pogue says Jakovljevic’s other choices could offer him an even better shot at a job.
“More than likely it’s going to be more of your business majors and so forth, your banking, financial services – areas of that nature.”
Some students are fortunate enough to love high demand vocations and don’t have to compromise.
Sophomore William Walding is pursuing a radiologic technology degree; those trained in medical technologies with some experience contend with an unemployment rate of just 2.1 percent.
“Of course that’s a big deal – jobs and stuff. I have already interviewed for some student worker programs in hospitals. And it’s a very strenuous job, but there’s hospitals all over the country and they always need new workers and there’s always new technologies and vaccines coming out. The health field is always growing. It’s never going to stop.”
ULM’s Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, Michael Camille, says the university is aware of job market trends, and has adjusted curricula accordingly.
“We always like to think that we’re offering the right courses and we are attractive to future employers.”
But some say practicality should not be divorced from students’ passion for subjects they love.
For example, English majors wrestle with an unemployment rate of 9.2 percent, but English professor Jack Heflin says separating students from subject areas they are passionate about could have unintended consequences.
“If we don’t give students a general education and they find themselves pigeonholed in a profession that they don’t like maybe we end up with a culture that is one dimensional, or two dimensional; they don’t think in rounded ways, they don’t think in critical ways.”
But some professions may be hard-pressed to attract new students. The grimmest job prospects for recent graduates belong to architects, with unemployment numbers of nearly 14 percent.
Karl Puljak is Louisiana Tech’s director of the graduate school of architecture – he says the difficulty plaguing the profession parallels the weak economy.
Although recent master’s degree graduates fare considerably better than undergraduates with a 7.7% unemployment rate, Puljak says Tech’s master’s architecture program could see a period of adjustment.
“It’s an opportunity for us as a program and as part of our students’ entry into the profession to reassess things that we are doing currently.”
Puljak anticipates a rebound for the profession as a whole as the economy improves, but whether an improved job market will allow students to once again begin choosing to follow their academic passions rather than less-interesting, more job-friendly majors remains an open question.