While the economy continues to recover from the Great Recession, CNN Money reports that most Americans feel economic conditions still remain poor. “Wages are barely rising, home prices are still below their peak and more Americans are using food stamps than ever before,” CNN Money said.
The state of the economy leaves college students worried about their future in the real world. Although the unemployment rate for young college graduates has subsided since its peak in 2010, it’s questionable whether we’re yet to see a full rebound.
College faculty, staff, and administrators have a unique role to play in post-graduation student success beyond the academics. With time spent nurturing relationships and guiding students to career opportunities, these invaluable advisors can help students prepare for their journey ahead.
Employment Prospects for College Graduates
The most important news for future grads is that the outlook for the economy remains optimistic. The latest unemployment rate of 5.1 percent in September 2015 from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is the lowest since April of 2008. The Boston Globe reports that unemployment levels for recent college graduates have fallen to about 7 percent, also the lowest since 2008.
Furthermore, a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers said that 9.6 percent more graduates from the Class of 2015 will be hired than from the Class of 2014 — another great indicator for the future job market.
Despite the positive signs, it’s important to realize that future grads may have some issues. A 2015 survey from graduate employer network AfterCollege says that only 30 percent of recent graduates had a job in place.
Newsweek also reports that approximately 40 percent of the unemployed in America are millennial college graduates.
How Students Can Prepare for Success
Author and journalist, Dan Kadlec, warns new college grads in Time that their expectations of the job market may be slightly too optimistic. Kadlec suggests that students consider the availability of jobs before choosing their major. He also encourages college students to secure internships, which can lead to immediate job opportunities.
In addition, Kadlec emphasizes the importance of taking finances seriously. He notes that more students in the Class of 2015 started at a community college than the Class of 2014. He also stresses the importance of having a fallback plan in the event of an unsuccessful job search and suggests that returning home temporarily to financial dependence on parents is an option.
It’s important for higher education professionals to provide advice and support for students who are searching for answers. Not only can faculty and staff help grads find employment opportunities, they can also become invaluable mentors and encourage career-oriented learning. AfterCollege reports that “faculty/teachers” ranked second in influence among students weighing career decisions.
As mentors, college staff members can help students with networking, job search strategies, resume building and much more. They can help students in choosing a degree and getting the most of their higher education.
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Grace College is the original publisher of this report. Click here to read the original version.