As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, a depressing statistic hit the news wires this week, claiming that 1 in every 2 recent college graduates are unemployed.
For example, from The Associated Press:
“About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields. … In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).”
Is the economy to blame for all of this? While I’m not an expert in the ins and outs of the economy, I do think this has some to do with it. There just isn’t enough money to go around at some companies to hire entry-level employees — that’s a fact.
On the other hand, I think it’s also due to the lack of experience that some students are graduating with. I wonder just how many of these unemployed graduates has had an internship (or two) in their field. While I hung with a pretty overachieving group in college, I knew just as many students who were fine with just going to class and working a minimum wage job to make some extra cash during the summer. While I was busting my butt working at an internship all summer, pulling the 9 to 5 shift, it was easy to be jealous of my counterparts who were getting tan as lifeguards or making tons of money in tips as waiters/waitresses.
But, looking back, although these students had more fun during their summers, they ended up being the ones who had a lot of trouble finding jobs. Some of the people I know who did not graduate with a lot of experience still have not found a steady job (almost one year after we graduated). While I can’t speak for each and every one of my friends who had multiple internships, I’ve found that these students were the ones who ended up having multiple job offers or had a fairly easy time finding a job. While not all of these students had an easy ride, they all ended up with jobs in the careers of their choice.
That being said, a college degree does not guarantee a job anymore. You’ve got to supplement your education with as many internships and opportunities as you can before you graduate.
If you don’t believe me, crunch the numbers I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It’s a scary world out there, so why make it even harder on yourself by ignoring the truth?