02 Apr Slow hiring of college graduates: non-profits to benefit – Part 2
CHICAGO – In a Nov. 2008 survey of employers by the National Association of Colleges & Employers, 27 percent said the job market for the graduating class of 2009 is very good. While that was down from 50 percent a year earlier, it still provides some promise.
Another 44 percent indicated the job market remained good, which is up from 31 percent a year ago. Less than 1 percent said that 2009’s entry-level market will be poor.
“It’s important to recognize that many companies had large groups of interns last summer and made them offers. It’s not surprising that the offers were snapped up. As a result, these firms reduced their on-campus recruiting while maintaining hiring levels comparable to last year,” said a representative from the University of South Carolina.
He added: “With the absence of these companies from campus, one might mistakenly conclude that they reduced hiring when in fact they maintained their hiring at levels close to last year’s. It’s just that they may not need to return to campus or they are only recruiting at core schools.”
He continued: “What we may see are companies coming to campus and only hiring three instead of 10. On-campus recruiting presence may not equate to relative hiring levels. Until May 2009 comes around, we really won’t know which companies hired and which students secured employment.”
One area that could provide strong opportunities for entry-level job seekers is the non-profit sector. This is a fact that hasn’t been lost on soon-to-be graduates.
In a recent AP article, it was reported that Teach for America saw applications jump 50 percent in Nov. 2008 to a record 14,000. City Year, which is a Boston non-profit that places young adults as mentors and tutors for one year, experienced a three-fold increase in the number of applicants. The slow economy can be a boon for non-profit organizations seeking skilled candidates.
This downturn may prove to be particularly fruitful as many associate the economy’s ills with greed and irresponsibility.
The disenchantment with the system that got us into this mess may push a lot of people into public service posts with organizations such as the Peace Corps, which has seen applicants increase 16 percent in fiscal year 2009, according to figures reported in a recent Arizona State University student newspaper article.
Non-profits will not be the only employers to benefit from a larger pool of highly qualified candidates. Occupational categories that have recently suffered from skilled-labor shortages – such as accounting, nursing and education – could see more interest from this year’s crop of graduates as well as the graduating classes over the next three to five years.
While job opportunities still exist, many of the students preparing to exit their undergraduate studies are simply extending their education by applying immediately for graduate-degree programs.
The Duke University School of Law has received a record-high 6,300 applications in 2009, according to officials at the school. As Jan. 2009, the Thayer School of Engineering’s master’s and doctorate program at Dartmouth was seeing an 18 percent to 20 percent jump in applicants over 2008.
The parallel programs in arts and sciences saw a 6 percent to 8 percent increase, according to a report in U.S. News & World Report.
Those who are unable to continue their education or secure post-graduation employment may have no choice but to return home to live with their parents. Some 77 percent of 2008 graduates moved back home upon completion of their college careers, according to a survey by entry-level job search site CollegeGrad.com.
That was up from 73 percent in 2007 and 67 percent in 2006. The percentage of graduates returning home could reach even higher in 2009. We may even see young people who have been out of school for two or three years and had jobs and apartments returning home following a layoff.
More and more people are exiting college already burdened with heavy debt loads. The inability to obtain more credit in this economy – combined with the difficulty of finding a job quickly – will likely to send a lot of graduates back to the shelter of their parents’ homes.
An unemployed college returnee could put an unexpected financial burden on parents, too, who may be dealing with their own job loss or other financial pressures related to the downturn. Having an extra person to feed, house and clothe may force these parents to cut spending in other areas.
Recent columns by James Challenger
- James Challenger: Slow hiring of college graduates: non-profits to benefit – Part 1
- James Challenger: Transferring skills the key to new work in today’s economy
- James Challenger: Expanding job market predicted to shatter glass ceiling
- James Challenger: Forget the money; Get the offer
This article previously appeared in MidwestBusiness.com, and was reprinted with its permission.
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