February 8, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 45°F


Employment rates remain low for graduates

Brian Kaiser ’09 is working part time at Best Buy in Brockport, N.Y. Even though Kaiser earned a degree in computer information systems while at Ithaca College, he said he has had no luck in finding a job suited to his field of study.

Kaiser is currently using a headhunting company and searching online for jobs while taking online courses to help improve his Web design skills. But he said he doesn’t see much hope in the job market.

“[The headhunting company] has a bulletin board, which they’re used to having full of positions,” Kaiser said. “Now they have one or two [postings] up at a time, if that. There aren’t as many available jobs as there were awhile back.”

Kaiser is not alone in his experience. Mimi Collins, director of communications for National Association of Colleges and Employers, said a very small group of the class of 2009 had jobs secured by the time they graduated and that hiring rates were expected to drop even lower for the class of 2010.

“Right now, it looks like hiring is going to be down 7 percent compared to last year,”

Collins said. “[And] last year was obviously not agood year.”

According to the United States Department of Labor, unemployment among college graduates has increased during the current economic recession. The number of unemployed persons who have obtained a bachelor’s degree has

increased by 136 percent since 2007, with more than 2.2 million college-educated adults unemployed in the United States.

John Fracchia, associate director of Career Services at the college, said about 98 percent of graduates from the college find jobs or attend graduate school a year after graduation but in the past year, that number may have gone down.

“Last year, overall jobs and internships that were offered to our students were down 15 percent,” he said.

Melissa Blitzstein ’09, who graduated with a master’s degree in secondary education at the college, is currently living at home in New Jersey. She has been unable to find any full-time teaching positions and plans to start substitute teaching once she is certified in the state of New Jersey.

“The only jobs that are available right now are long-term subbing positions,” Blitzstein said. “I’m just waiting for [my application] to go through … and then I can start substitute teaching. That’s going to be most of my income in the near future.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute, an organization that researches the United States workforce, the unemployment rate for college graduates below age 27 has hit 7.1 percent — the highest average in 30 years.

Steve Jacobson ’08, a cinema and photography major who is currently living in Los Angeles, hasn’t started looking outside his field of interest just yet but said he may have to start looking elsewhere soon.

“I’ve told myself that unless I am literally and completely broke, I won’t look for a job outside my field,” Jacobson said. “But it may be coming to a point where I have to go check out McDonald’s.”

Jacobson has found some temporary projects, such as editing music videos and doing work for an independent film company, during the past year. For the second year in a row, though, he has found himself unemployed during the fall.

Employers also expect to cut back on the number of interns they will be hiring. According to NACE, employers will cut internships by nearly 21 percent this year.

Kelley Zenger-O’Brien ’09, also a cinema and photography major, has been able to find a number of unpaid jobs while living in Los Angeles. She chose to take unpaid internships instead of applying for jobs that had nothing to do with her degree.

“I’m going to stick with finding unpaid jobs that will help me get more experience rather than taking an office job right away just to pay the rent,” Zenger-O’Brien said. “[Internships] are pretty easy to get just because a lot of people don’t have the experience that graduates have.”

Zenger-O’Brien said her parents have been helping her financially while she waits for a stable job offer. She said she hopes the connections she makes while doing unpaid work will eventually lead to a paying job.

Even though she said she is happy with her unpaid internships, Zenger-O’Brien did not think she was going to be interning after college.

“It was surprising that it’s been so difficult,” she said. “I thought it would be easier just to get an entry-level job.”