Head up the changing face of employment

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Recent college graduates face unemployment, minimun-wage jobs

Patrick Williams

When students get out of college, there is a good chance they will be unemployed at least once and working in a job that doesn’t require a degree.

According to Mark Rank from Washington University, nearly 47 percent of American adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely than their elders to be unemployed once or more.

“I think across the field, it is the case that society as a whole is looking for new skills and attributes with which to hire,” said Jayaram Muthuswamy, Kent State associate professor of finance. “So what might have been kosher seven years ago has changed. Today the skill sets are different across the board.”

A January 2014 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York states that careers in engineering, mathematics, computers, health and education are the most secure.

“America is about high-tech, and if you want to get a good job here, you have to show that you’re a member of the high-tech team,” Muthuswamy said.

But because millennials grew up with technology, shouldn’t that put them ahead of the curve?

Not exactly.

Career Services counselor Ryan McNaughton said older people are getting accustomed to technology as well.

“The key for anybody — you’ve got to get some experience on that resume,” McNaughton said.

McNaughton also said 80 percent of jobs come from networking, or as the old adage says: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

The New York Fed report states that the underemployment rate for recent college graduates was 44 percent in 2012 — the highest it has been since the early 90s. The bank defines underemployment as when a college graduate holds a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree and defines a recent college graduate as a 22-to-27-year-old with a bachelor’s degree.

“That’s quite natural to wait for a good job to come along, so I wouldn’t worry if I couldn’t get a great job right away,” Muthuswamy said. “I would still strive to get that great job. In the meantime, I wouldn’t be very picky about taking a job that would underutilize my skills.”

McNaughton said the average person goes through six to eight career changes; for example, he used to be a sports reporter.

McNaughton said gaps in employment are becoming more acceptable, and he was able to explain his own.

Students shouldn’t wait to come to Career Services, McNaughton said. It’s too late if they wait to come until the second semester of their senior year.

Muthuswamy said students should be knowledgeable about the changing job market and be prepared to make tough decisions about their careers.

In the meantime, he said they shouldn’t worry about having to take a job as a barista at Starbucks.

Contact Patrick Williams at [email protected]