Local News

Grim job outlook for college seniors

Posted May 9, 2009 7:11 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2009 6:38 p.m. EDT

— Spring commencement ceremonies got under way Saturday for some Triangle colleges. This year, however; graduates face a tough job market.

The nation is suffering from a deep recession with unemployment at its highest level in more than 25 years.  A survey, conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), found that 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates have a job lined up. That is a 30 percent drop from two years ago.

Graduates of North Carolina State University received their diplomas Saturday morning during a commencement ceremony at the RBC Center.

A lot of students with whom WRAL News spoke with said they have yet to find a job.

“I started looking for a job back in August .... applying at a few banks. But banking jobs are harder to come by nowadays,” said Brian Hewitt, N.C. State graduate.

“While all my friends graduated in years prior ... they were getting jobs," said Andrew Hanner, N.C. State graduate. "I've worked this hard to get up to this point and then when I'm done ... I don't have anything to show for it."

According to NACE, employers plan to hire 22 percent fewer graduates than last year, and for the ones they do hire, the average starting salary is 2.2 percent less.

Given the tough job market, some people are looking into graduate school.

“I think I need to beef up my resume a little bit. So I plan on taking some time off and going to law school,” Hanner said.

Career counselors say graduates must consider all employment options.

“They will need to be more creative and more flexible in terms of the kinds of opportunities they seek, and the kinds of opportunities they consider,” Carol Schroeder, with N.C. State's career center.

Consider taking a lower-skills position, temping or doing freelance, Schroeder said. Some graduates are also looking into government jobs.

“I recently applied with the Census Bureau and am hoping to hear back some good stuff from them,” Hewitt said.

N.C. State handed out 7,211 degrees this year.