As job market shrinks, so do college grads’ grand plans
The best prepared are finding jobs, but others are having to consider internships or living at home.
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Students nationwide are being urged to ratchet down expectations. The average starting salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree is expected to be $49,353 this year, up just $53 from last year, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Traditional entry-level jobs are few.Skip to next paragraph
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“The six-month internship is the new first job,” says William Hiss, a vice president who oversees the career center at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. “Companies are being cautious, and a six-month internship is a perfectly reasonable way to think about ... ‘Do we really need this person?’ ”
Hope for engineers, accountants
New graduates with such majors as engineering, accounting, computer science, and business are relatively in demand, though they’re likely to have fewer job offers to choose from this year, says Mimi Collins, spokeswoman for NACE, which forecast the 22 percent drop in jobs for new graduates based on a February survey. One sector where job opportunities are up is the government.
Companies want to be poised to hire when the economy improves. But “my worry is that this will just skip over the class of 2009,” says Kelley Bishop, executive director of career services at Michigan State in East Lansing. “How do you keep those folks in the front of the line when the opportunities open up again?”
Ms. LaPointe, a senior at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., put herself at the front of the line by having a plan. The two internships and frequent trips to the career center led to two job offers. Just after Christmas, she accepted one: a two-year financial leadership program with The Nielsen Company.
“My hard work over the four years has really paid off,” says the anthropology major and accounting minor.
Contrast that with Mr. Moberg, also a senior at Holy Cross. He describes his feelings at not yet having a single lead as “uneasy, nervous.” A philosophy major, he spent a semester in Washington and hopes to find a policy or research job. He ramped up his search after Thanksgiving, sending out applications and networking with everyone he can think of.
He and his girlfriend originally hoped to find jobs in the same city, but now location has to take a back seat. “There’s going to be a point where ... maybe I’m just going to have to do something else. Is it a low-paying job? Is it really sucking it up and living with my family in California rather than being on the East Coast?... Who knows?’ ”