College Grads Flunk Job Search 101

January 21st, 2009 | Sources: Washington Post


Normally a college degree helps people secure employment, even during economic downturns. It also confers job security in that college-educated employees are less likely to be riffed during a recession.

But no one is immune from the Great Economic Crisis of ’08-‘09.

Or, as Lawrence Mishel, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute told the Washington Post, “In a flood everyone gets swept away.”

In November, 3.1% of workers with at least a college diploma were unemployed. That’s less than half the national unemployment rate of 7.2% and far less than the rate of 10.5% among those who did not graduate high school, but it’s higher than at any point since 2003.

And many analysts believe the rate will soon exceed 4%, making it the highest unemployment rate among college grads since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking unemployment by educational level 38 years ago.

Part of the challenge facing college grads, especially younger ones, is that the few employers who are hiring can afford to be selective due to the surge in capable candidates. They’re looking for experience and mastery of a wide range of tasks, which recent graduates don’t have.

For many it seems, the best option is to trade down; accept positions for which you’re overqualified or even those outside your field, at least until things start brightening up out there.

“We’re telling candidates . . . your next job may not have the title you want or the pay you want,” John Owen told the Post. Post helps Robert Half place finance and accounting professionals.


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