College Class of 2009 Graduates Finding Fewer Jobs

College Graduate Finding Jobs The 2009 crop of college graduates is stepping off campus and into the “real world” with fewer jobs in hand than their 2008 counterparts, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

Interestingly, fewer 2009 graduates sought out jobs than their predecessors. Approximately 64 percent of the Class of 2007 and two-thirds of the Class of 2008 had started looking for a job by this time.

In comparison, “just 59 percent of this year’s class has started the job search,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director.

NACE’s 2009 Student Survey shows that just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for a job actually have one. In comparison, 51 percent of those graduating in 2007 and 26 percent of those graduating in 2008 who had applied for a job had one in hand by the time of graduation.

This may be due, in part, to considerable attention to the increase in nationwide unemployment, the global financial crisis of recent months, and the impact of these developments on the recruitment and hiring of new graduates by specific industries.

Data indicate that among specific majors, engineering and accounting graduates are more likely both to have started their job search and to have a job in hand. They are also more likely to accept an offer they received. Additionally, the study shows that liberal arts majors were more likely to turn down the job offers they received.

Salary may have played a role in acceptance of job offers.

“On average, engineering graduates expect to earn an annual starting salary of approximately $62,000, while accounting majors expect to earn an average of about $45,000,” says Mackes.

Those expectations match up fairly well with the reality. In a separate survey, NACE has found that salary offers to engineering graduates average more than $58,000, while the average offer to accounting graduates exceeds $48,000.

Despite the lack of jobs, “most respondents say they expect to enter the job market. Surprisingly, at this time we do not see a strong indication of increases in the number of students planning to go to graduate school,” says Mackes.

Approximately 24 percent of Class of 2008 graduates reported plans to forego the job market in favor of graduate school, while approximately 27 percent of those graduating in 2009 report such plans.

About NACE’s 2009 Student Survey: NACE polls students about their job search, career plans, and other issues related to employment on an annual basis. The 2009 Student Survey was conducted February 19, 2009, through April 30, 2009. More than 35,000 students representing more than 840 colleges and universities nationwide took part; more than 16,500 of those were graduating seniors. Information in this release is based on data gathered from graduating senior respondents.

Source: NACE