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The State of the Workforce for Grads

The State of the Workforce for Grads

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

May 04, 2011

MAY 2011— According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 1.7 million students will graduate with bachelor’s degrees in 2011 this spring.

And while the job landscape is looking better than previous years, it will be no cake walk for the grads.

Those who find jobs will be better off in the long run than those who don’t—research indicates that those who are jobless may never make up the gap in earnings or career status. Which is why it’s so important for grads to find jobs as soon as possible. Delays could affect them throughout their career.

The Good News

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), companies plan to hire 19.3% more recent graduates this year than they did in 2010. Employers seem to be most interested in hiring graduates with backgrounds in engineering, computer science, accounting and business degrees. What’s more, job seekers will have less competition than 2010— literally almost half as many. In 2011, the typical employer will have 21.1 applicants vying for a job, compared with 40.5 last year, NACE says. And finally, the average salary offer is expected to be up 5.9% over last year, to an average of $50,462, from $47,673 last year.

And…The Bad News

According to an Adecco Staffing US survey of 500 young professionals:

  • 53% of recent graduates have never received even a single full-time job offer
  • Only 57% of recent college graduates are working full time
  • 43% of recent graduates who do have a full-time job are working in positions that don’t require a four-year degree
  • 19% of all undergraduates could land only temporary work within six months of graduation.


What Should You Do?

  • Be aggressive about finding work NOW. Look day and night and exhaust all possibilities. Use Monster.com, work with a headhunter, cold call companies, network and use social media like Linkedin.com.
  • If you can’t find full time work in your field, take internships, part time work, or anything that will make you a stronger candidate for full time jobs.
  • Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed… you know the rest. Keep looking and make looking for work your full time job, until you have a full time job.


Information compiled from NACE, Adecco Staffing US and walletpop.com.