College Grads and Employment Prospects

College class of 2012 will be extremely disappointed, as if finding a job with only knowledge and not experience is hard enough. It is estimated that 50% of college and university graduates will be either jobless or employed in positions that do not fully use their skills and knowledge. Young men and women with bachelor’s degrees will be forced to accept lower-wage jobs, like waiter/waitress, bartender, retail clerk, or receptionist – if those are available. It is the same for military veterans who have decided to let their enlistment expire without reenlisting or choosing the military for a career. 

The way the system works, however, those who are veterans will stand a better chance at landing a job, depending upon qualifying skills and educational background. But with my experience in that sort of thing, I have found that some companies and institutions will hire a civilian over a veteran because they feel that they are not attuned “to civilian ways of doing things”. This is how I missed out when I mustered out of the Army in seeking a position at a university in Atlanta. At least the administrator was honest and up front, and truly had difficulty making the decision between me and a female applicant, as she explained, the other applicant had the same educational qualifications, but had more field experience for the position. It couldn’t have been a gender matter because the administrative official who interviewed me was also female. I will always remember that disappointment, for it was an opportunity to utilize my university education and at the same time work towards a Ph.D., and doctorate at less cost than attending university elsewhere. The same sort of thing happened with my effort to be employed in a great position at Motorola in the computer administration department. But that one was lost because someone who was already working for Motorola in another state decided to transfer, and he had the job over choosing someone freshly hired. Again, the interviewer was honest and up front and actually looked almost as disappointed as I was.

In order to pay bills and raise my son, I had to settle for less – first working in an esteemed security position and then seeking more money by driving a truck over-the-road, and then driving locally in order to be home more with my son.
But I digress …
There is a good demand for employment in the fields of science, education, and the health fields; but if you are looking for employment in the fields of arts and humanities (my major), then you are probably out of luck unless you have an relative that can get you in. In addition, wages for bachelor degree holders are less than they were in 2000, supposedly due to technological changes that have eliminated mid-level jobs, like bank tellers. I know better from the down-size push of the Clinton era in the military – it is all about the budget, and the same applies to companies. For example, WalMart has more part-timers employed now than full timers because it costs less due to health care benefits. It’s all about profits. In the case of WalMart and similar corporations, the wage earning levels are top heavy, although WalMart usually stays above retail business average when it comes to hourly wage earners. Their investment programs are good if you can stay long enough when they change personnel around. It is not uncommon for workers to cover more than one department, many times more than two departments that would take an extra employee or two to cover that you are required to do at the same pay rate. Meanwhile, the cost-of-living continues to rise at a steady rate and Americans are finding they are adjusting their budgets more than once per year.
Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides (taking care of senior folks on government assistance). I have noticed that in our county.
Last year the job prospects for those with bachelor degrees fell to the lowest level in ten years. I don’t blame our youth if they feel they spent the time, money and effort for naught.
Some graduates have been submitting resumes for the past year or two while working low paying jobs like one at a Seattle coffeehouse.
Sometimes those lower paid jobs look at your educational background and figure you are “over qualified” – which means they figure you won’t want to stick it out. That is a bummer if one is unemployed.
And, on the other end of the spectrum, people in their 40s and 50s who have been laid off due to the economic situation find they cannot land jobs. It has always been difficult for 50-year-old men and women who find themselves suddenly jobless, to find out that in reality, people do not want to hire the older generation in many circumstances and situations within corporations and companies. This makes the government look pretty stupid when they keep raising the age for collecting social security – and then too many people find themselves dipping into their IRA or other retirement benefits in order to live until a new job comes along; and then they are forced to accept something that is less than their qualifications.
These days, unlike before, going to college doesn’t mean that you will be earning more than the person that didn’t go to college. And, in that perspective, I can relate.
A Harvard economist, Richard Freemanstated:
You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it’s not true for everybody. …the growing risk of a debt bubble with total U.S. Student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion, you are not sure what you’re going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college.
Or what is available.
The government, always behind the curve, is still doling out H-1 Visa for foreign workers in certain fields when we have American citizens jobless. If I ever hear another candidate say that he or she can “create jobs” – I think I will lose it. Government can only increase employment opportunities by keeping their face whenever possible out of private sector business OR increase the size and expense of government by adding agencies and departments and thus more employees. If the IRS would be downsized (and its fangs cut) to just an audit agency – this would save a lot of money on payroll alone; however, it will also put people out into the job-searching market. Some will be able to transfer to other positions that are open and the others will be looking for jobs that are not government positions. Hey, join the rest of us Americans.
In the matter of United States regions, the West (mountain states) will have a 3 to 5 underemployment, the southeastern U.S., which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee is second; and the last is the Pacific region that includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington states will also be high on the list. However, Texas looks like it will be more likely to have young college graduates in higher-skill jobs.
And Obama thinks we don’t need to drill our own oil, a Canadian-US pipeline, and other job-making ventures that will also make America self sufficient?