Despite the ever improving job market, a recent survey reveals that new grads are still struggling to obtain a job that fits not only their skills but also their interests. The survey reviewed over five hundred entry level job seekers through GradStaff, a national career matchmaking firm. They discovered that many recent college graduates are vastly unaware of the career opportunities offered around them and that they are unsure of how to utilize their skills within the workforce.
This survey was conducted from May until September of 2016, revealing that students are inefficiently being prepared for their careers and are not being shown the correct methods to search for jobs according to their majors. The survey also discovered that seventy percent of graduates were unemployed or working a non professional, full time, living paycheck to paycheck. Although, twenty percent of graduates reviewed did obtain professional, full time, jobs except they were already searching for a new place of employment. On average graduates spent three and a half months applying for over twenty three jobs in search of work. During these three months, the graduates averaged less than two interviews in the entire job search time frame. Pending the time of the survey, eighty six percent of graduates reported no job offers.
The survey revealed that students are not lacking in skill or motivation but rather awareness and guidance when it come to search for a career opportunity. Over seventy five percent of graduates agreed that other than the obstacle of lacking in work experience, they do not know what positions will fit with their major. This indicates a lack of counseling and career coaching. Additional data gathered within the survey supported this conclusion. Seventy one percent of graduates explained that they visited their counselor or career services department fewer than two times. While thirty five percent explained they never even visited their career services department. Those graduates that did visit their career services department gave their experiences a 4 or 5 star rating (5 is the highest).
A popular job search strategy included job-posting on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn. However, only seventy eight percent of graduates reported owning a LinkedIn profile and only twenty four percent used this avenue when searching for a job. Although, when it comes to networking forty percent explained that they used LinkedIN very often to connect with like minded professionals.
Several conclusions were drawn from the survey revealing:
- Graduates often leave college without sufficient knowledge on how to conduct a job search effectively. They do not know which jobs will fit their personality or their major. Plus, this info is not incorporated into the curriculum for these students.
- The Career service departments are not seeking out to connect with their student for two concluded reasons. One, students wait until after graduation to search for their career jobs. Two, only thirty seven percent of students are satisfied with their career services department experience. Colleges obviously need to make an improvement in this department.
- Job seekers rely too heavily on online search engines. It is very clear that many jobs go unfound due to lack of availability through the internet.
- New grads are seeking jobs through medium to small employers which is great since employers with five hundred employees or less make up two thirds of the US job economy. However, there small to medium companies are not interviewing on campus. Which makes personal networking crucial when seeking opportunities with these employers - a technique that is utilized by less than half of new graduates.
In short, the data reveals that climb from student to professional entry level job is both a hard and long road for many new graduates. We advise students to begin the process long before they graduate. We also advise that college improve their career placement services and offer their students practical job search skills. Lastly, the data gathers that there is a need for a third party to assist both students and colleges alike in bridging new graduates to their first successful professional.