My friend, Steve, wrote this post for the blog today. I think the piece addresses an issue that many of us unemployed 20-somethings have faced.
In a survey of college graduates from the classes of 2006 – 2011, researchers at Rutgers University confirmed that the unemployment forecasts are particularly dismal for today’s newest degree holders.
The study also revealed that half of the graduates surveyed took jobs that did not require a four-year degree, while 62% believed they would require more education in order to pursue their chosen career path – another 18% weren’t sure. Clearly there is a mismatch between the skills colleges teach to students and the talent employers demand of them.
Although the study highlights some troubling facts for young workers, it sheds light on the cause of this disconnect between what fresh grads are supplying and what employers need.
When asked to reflect on their undergraduate careers, 48% of recent grads said they wish they had been more careful when selecting their major. If, as this study seems to suggest, major selection is a strong determinant of job hunting success in the post-graduation world, then that leads us to the uncomfortable conclusion that students make one of the most important decisions of their lives in the third or fourth semester of the undergraduate careers.
To make matters worse, many colleges encourage students to sign up for exotic majors and people are impressed when you tell them you are a “Latin American Studies” major.
As a young sophomore, filled with academic ambition and world changing vision, it seemed like a wonderful idea to major in Latin American studies – not to mention the professor was kind and enthusiastic.
The major allows you to sound so intellectual and unconcerned with mundane things such as a 9-5 job post graduation.You imagine that you will be in some exotic corner of South America studying indigenous groups, untouched by modern society.
Shockingly, most employers do not want to hear all about the history of Central America or send you on an all expenses paid trip to South America to “research.”
So what about you? Are you in a career that relates to your college major?