Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rough Job Market For Recent Grads

It might be hard to notice from the even, detached tone in which I write this blog (hehe), but I have little sympathy for those who complain about not getting jobs when their degrees are in Aggrieved Victim Studies, communications, Sanskrit Literature, Film History, Psychology, and the like. Those are all perfectly valid majors, if you're seeking self-actualization and enjoyment. If you're seeking employment, these are not the majors you are looking for--and you don't need Obi Wan's handwave while saying it to make it true.

These people, on the other hand, I have genuine sympathy for, because we always hear about how important these fields are and how we need more graduates in such fields:
"I'm frustrated," said Sergey Savrasov, 21. Savrasov recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with degrees in computational mathematics and business management economics. He now works for a Davis moving company.

"The response rate to applications is pretty slow," he said, "even though I'm a very qualified job candidate with two degrees"...

Savrasov speaks three languages and twice made the dean's honor list. But he's still hauling furniture out of recently sold homes...

Savrasov managed to complete his education without racking up huge debts – his parents picked up most of the costs. And he's still working.

Eduardo Salinas, 31, of Sacramento is not so fortunate.

A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Salinas worked the last several years as a CAD drafter – he used computer software to create blueprints for construction projects.

Salinas believed that he could do more, though, and enrolled in the construction management program at ITT Technical Institute in Rancho Cordova. He went to school full time while working full time. In June, his employer laid him off.

Salinas graduated from ITT in September. Now he's struggling to find a job in the anemic construction industry. He owes $60,000 in student loans.

He still wants something more prestigious than his old job, which does not require a four-year degree, but he's worried that he may not find it. His backup plan is to start his own business.

"I just want to get my foot in the door," he said. "But that's impossible."

STEM is supposed to be the Promised Land....


Teacher gardener said...

My daughter just graduated in mechanical engineering. No responses to her many job apps. When she started college, "everyone" said that being a woman in this field would more than guarantee a job. ha ha

Lady Harriet said...

I just graduated in May with a BA in Economics and minor in Math. More than seven months and many applications later, the only interview I've had is for a grocery store job paying just above minimum wage. I haven't heard back from them. I realize that part of my problem is that I'm trying to leave my hometown (the totally insane Madison, WI) and employers give you less consideration if you live out-of-state.

I went to a small, new, very conservative Catholic liberal arts school (Ave Maria University). It's disheartening to see that my friends who majored in Theology and Music mostly have found jobs much sooner. I'm very happy they're employed and don't wish them ill in the slightest, but I'd hoped my supposedly-practical major would get me a job too. I finally realized that the common denominator between most of my friends with jobs is that they are working for Catholic churches, schools, pro-life groups, & c. In settings like those, our school has more of a reputation and connections. Not so much for me trying to become a statistician. Thank God I had a full scholarship from my school, so I have zero debt. I'd be in even worse trouble otherwise.

I'm crazy enough that I'm trying to move to Orange County, CA right now, because that's where my boyfriend lives and his uncle who works at Boeing is helping me try to get a job there. I don't want to stay in WI any longer, but it's just not prudent to move somewhere else with no job.

MikeAT said...

@Lady Harriet

Fifteen years ago I was looking for a job and a bunch of friends of mine had recently moved to the Houston area for employment. I got a job in law enforcement in the Houston area. I had to leave my home of New Orleans and I daily thank God I did.

If WI just isn't a place with opportunities don't hesitate to go somewhere where their are opportunities. The lack of employment in WI may be a blessing in disguise.

Ellen K said...

If there's a villain in this, it is universities who sell students on the idea that taking out student loans will somehow be paid back in jobs down the road. That may be the way things used to work, but it's not the way it works now. I have listened to these recruiters from universities big and small. They all have the same speil. They tell kids they are there for them, that the grants and scholarships will match what their families cannot afford (which is a lie since when I had three kids in college, FAFSA decided I didn't need any of my income-a clear indication of academia's view of private earnings.)So these parents and kids take out thousands, sometimes tens of thousands in loans only to be hit with a mortgage size payment six months after graduation. Sure, you can defer if you don't have a job, but the interest adds up. And student loans cannot be dismissed with bankruptcy. I see a generation buried in debt. Not my kids, because we planned ahead. But far too many young adults will put off the rites of adulthood-marriage, children, homebuying, because of a system that has enriched universities through basic misrepresentation.

Steve USMA '85 said...

Lady Harriet, have you tried the Census Bureau and the many other Government statistical agencies? Hiring is tight with the current budget but if you want to be a statistician, it is a great place to work. Job series 1529 (Mathematical Statistician), 1530 (Survey Statistician), or 0110 (Economist) on

mrelliott said...

For years we've been pushing kids through our public schools with the message "go to college." The curriculum even prepares them for college more so than anything else, yet the job market does not have room for all these college educated young people. I think its a rotten trick we're playing on them.

Carol said...

omigod, did this poor guy have to go to ITT? Those for profit "tech" schools are awfully expensive, and don't really have a great rep. Why not state college?