Chuck Raasch at USA Today reports on the grim job outlook for many of today’s college graduates. Is it really this bad?
And one by one, generational attitudes are being formed about work, security and even family, particularly among people younger than 25 who have entered the job market since 2008.
The national unemployment rate rose to 8.2% in May as Silsby was graduating as one of 2.6 million who got bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in the school year now ending. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute called their labor market “grim” and said that over the previous year, unemployment among college graduates younger than 25 had averaged 9.4%, with an additional 19.1% in jobs for which they were overqualified.
Beneath this cascade of sobering statistics, a new pragmatism might be forming.”A lot of us are silly optimistic, sometimes,” says Amanda Frattarola, 22, who graduated from the University of Vermont in 2011 and found a job as a health and wellness coordinator in Arlington, Texas. Her job search lasted eight months. She says it does not pay what she or her mother expected, and it is far from the New York City address she dreamed of having. But she likes the work, is supporting herself and has held firmly to “that mentality that everything will work out for me. Some of the hardest days of my life have been in this past year. I also feel like I have learned so much about myself.”
Will we see more of these young grads choosing self-employment out of necessity? Will many of them be able to actually grow high growth firms or will they become freelancers, guns for hire, and permanent temps? Basically professional day laborers.
The difficult job market confirms the need for people to learn various entrepreneurial skills. From competitive analysis and business model creation to basic sales and marketing, knowing how to handle entrepreneurial uncertainty and create value is a crucial skill. More from Raasch in the USA Today:
A Harvard University Institute of Politics survey in March and April found that more than three out of four college students expect to have a somewhat or very difficult time finding a job. And 45% expect student loans to affect their financial circumstances “a lot” after they graduate.
Their pessimism is based on the experience of the 20-somethings just ahead of them. A Rutgers University study this spring of 444 graduates who received bachelor’s degrees from 2006 to 2011 found that 51% were working full time. The rest were in graduate school, unemployed, working part time or no longer in the job market.
One in four were living with parents. Those who got jobs beginning in 2008, the height of the Great Recession, earned a starting salary, on average, 10% less than those graduates who entered the job market in 2006 and 2007, according to the Rutgers survey. All this has happened as the total amount of student loan debt in the USA surpassed $900 billion.