College graduates may be our best and brightest, but they’re also more likely to be unemployed. In fact, about 60% of last year’s grads haven’t been able to find a job in their chosen profession – the one they spent four years working toward. That’s a big change from just five years ago, when 90% of college grads had a full-time job within a year of leaving school.
Things have been so bad that a-third of recent graduates said they’ve had to delay moving out on their own and starting their adult lives - either because they’re in debt, or they’re still financially dependent on their parents. Part of the problem is that entry-level jobs are being filled by people with more experience. We’re talking about older workers who lost their jobs, and took a step down the ladder to find work. That leaves today’s grads in “survival mode.” They’re taking survival jobs they don’t need a degree for – like one Princeton grad we read about. She’s been looking for a teaching job with an Ivy League degree under her belt, but until recently, she found herself working at a video store. That’s why economists worry that today’s graduates will be part of a “lost generation” that can’t find work, can’t earn a decent living, and ultimately can’t get out of debt!
So is there any good news here? Fortunately, yes. Statistics are showing that the job market is improving, and hiring is on the rise again. Also, many recent graduates are finally starting to get full-time work after taking lots of part-time survival jobs during the recession. Do those graduates feel like they’re part of a ‘lost generation’? Not at all. In fact, many of them are saying the new skills they gained working in “survival” jobs, or getting vocational training, and taking unpaid internships, have actually made them better job candidates.