I have my degree, now what?
By Rochelle Prestage
Are you in the market for a new job or career change? If so, this is a great time to sharpen that resume and get that LinkedIn profile updated. According to many of the leading experts in workplace trends, such as SHRM and Glassdoor, the economy is heading up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in the last fifty years. In April 2019, employers added more than 263,000 jobs, much more than anticipated. According to a recent survey completed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies are planning to increase hiring by more than 10% from this year’s class than they did in 2018.
April 2019 marks the 14th consecutive month of the unemployment rate being below 4%. All demographics saw a decrease in the unemployment rate, which is significant. Many employers find themselves giving opportunities to non-traditional job seekers. For example, women are being given opportunities in fields such as transportation and construction, where these fields are majority male dominated. In the long run, this may lead to gender balance in those fields and eventually decrease the income gap seen between men and women.
What does this mean for you, the job seeker? History has shown us that those who graduate into a strong job market tend to earn more throughout their careers than those who graduate during a recession. Although recessions are not something any of us look forward to, the good news is that those with a college degree tend to fare slightly better than those without. According to an analysis from the New York Fed, the unemployment rate for recent grads in December of 2018 was 3.7%, slightly lower than that of the overall labor force, which was 3.8%.
One disturbing trend is that many recent grads are underemployed. Some of the jobs being filled by candidates with a college degree do not require the education that those being hired are bringing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth from 2016-2026 will be 7.4%. However, the growth will not be split even across all sectors. As has been the case in recent years, healthcare will lead the growth while production and manufacturing will continue to shrink. This could lead to an increase in demand in fields that are typically filled by educated women (healthcare) and a decrease in jobs typically filled by uneducated men (manufacturing). Keeping up with recent trends, those who receive STEM degrees will continue to earn the most as demand for those educational backgrounds continue to rise.
As we have seen with Millennials, none of this traditional job search and career planning appears to make a difference. Many are choosing positions, based on criteria other than salary alone. This group is willing to take a chance on a career doing something that they love rather than on the potential income. Despite the amount of student loan debt that many are leaving college with, many are also willing to try their hands at entrepreneurship rather than a traditional after college.
Regardless of what route a recent graduate chooses to pursue, the best way to land a job or grow a business in through networking. Networking is an easy way to meet new people and build your funnel of potential future business leads. It’s important that people know who you are and what you are offering. The ultimate goal of networking is to build relationships, not just add to the number of business cards in your virtual rolodex. Getting to know others and sharing information about yourself will prove invaluable whether you’re seeking a traditional job or starting a business.
______________________________________________________________________________Rochelle Prestage is a Career Coach who specializes in helping career seekers and changers find their niche. After spending over twenty years in Human Resources, she decided to add Career Coaching to her services. Partnering with professionals from entry level to the executive suite taught her was is really needed to succeed in the corporate environment, so she is using this knowledge to help others reach their goals.