I have a Degree, Why Won’t You Hire Me?

Our favorite post-graduate nightmare

WTF Is Going On? | Remington Parker | April 7, 2016

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“Only 17% of students have a job lined up for their post graduation life.”

Well this is terrifying.

We all came to college to study majors we love, ones we understand enough to achieve an A in, or ones that will actually get us a job one day. Or at least we hope they will…

Recently, a platform that connects college graduates with job openings in their respective fields called aftercollege, released a report saying that a month before graduation, only 17% of students had a job lined up for their post graduation life.

Faced with the—at the risk of sounding trite—shocking statistic, one cannot help but question its validity. Was this “aftercollege” business simply trying to scare graduates into signing up for their program? Is it not possible for the low employment rate to be influenced by factors such as graduate school, gap years, etc.?

Well, according to The National Center for Education Statistics, it is a small minority of undergraduates that go directly into graduate school. Also, as for gap years, it turns out even the American Gap Association can only offer 700 respondents. So basically when a student graduates, he or she will be entering the work in full force—with almost every peer as an opponent.

From an economic perspective, thus far into 2016, the market and the employment rates have been relatively high, considering the enduring residual effects of the recession that was declared done in 2009. In fact, the most recent unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics taken in February 2016: 4.9% unemployment. Since “full employment”—meaning no unemployment due to fluctuations within the business cycle—lies a bit below 5%, things were looking pretty optimistic. On a surface level, it seems a college student’s prospect of finding employment look pretty promising.

Unfortunately, further research yielded a much less pleasant reality for the job outlooks that the faced college age population. The BLS’ 18 to 19-year-old unemployment rate of February 2016 is actually 13.8% unemployment. Though this is actually a local minimum—seeing exactly one year removed from February 2016, the 18 to 19-year-old unemployment was at 16.2%—the rate is still substantially, and frighteningly higher than that of the national average. A bit lower on the unemployment scale, the 20 to 24-year-old population of February 2016 had an 8.6% unemployment rate. Still, it is nearly two times the rate of the national average.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, it is possible to correlate some factors of comparatively high unemployment of the 25 years and under population to some lingering affects from the recession that was declared over in 2009. Unfortunately for people seeking work who are between the ages of 18 and 24 years old, there is an almost unwavering historical trend of having an unemployment rate that is 2.2 times higher than that of the the general population.

Adding to the inescapability of the unhelpful unemployment curve experienced upon graduation is the ever increasing highs in the number of college graduates every year. According to The National Center for Education Statistics, in 2013, there were 12.2 million college students under age 25. During this past fall 2015 semester, American colleges and Universities were estimated to have received a massive 20.2 million students into classrooms. An increase in the number of college diplomas in the United States is not something anyone thought to ever scorn. However, it does appear that this influx of collegians is largely thanks to a rise in much needed student loans. Loans, which have been loaded with unforeseeable jumps in interest rate, and consequential jumps in   student debt. Debt, which is—literally—record setting. The amount of student debt created by such high interest loans will only gain more interest if the time it takes to pay them back is elongated by the affects of the high unemployment rate of the 20 to 24-year-old population. With an alleged 41.0% of NYU undergraduate students relying on loans is there anything we, as NYU students—as in debt students—can do to beat the unemployment curve?

Well, at this point, it seems to be nearly a fact of life that chances of finding a job out of college are—to say the least—stacked. Lucky for NYU students, we not only live in one of the most well connected, opportunity filled cities, we also attend a university with an arguably unparalleled database of students, workplaces, and open positions. It seems we have practically no excuse to not get ahead of the experience curve.

Obviously, everyone can benefit from visiting Wasserman Center, whether it be for help on your cover letter, a job reference, a mock interview, or even a mock meal with a possible employer—Wasserman has it all. Also, check out the Wasserman Center’s online database, CareerNet. Yes, you have to make an account, but yes, you will find at least one viable option for your field of interest. The database not only contains thousands of job postings, but actually vets each company and its offer before putting on the site. According to Wasserman, the companies on CareerNet had to “jump though hoops” to get there, so they really do want to hire NYU students for these position. And, if you can’t figure out how to make an account, you can make an appointment at the Wasserman for that too! NYU’s resources reach far and wide. In fact, if you are a Tisch student, you have your very own, special Tisch Talent Guild, which sends out work opportunities every weeknight. And if you are pre-med, or any other research based field, your professors probably have research projects for you to apply to on their home pages.

At NYU there is practically no excuse not to get your work experience in, and raise your job prospects. So let’s get working.


Image courtesy of John W.Iwanski on flickr