Spring grads figure job market realities

by Sofia Casillas

Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor
Antonio Zaragoza, Photo Editor

Every year, the time comes for many students to say farewell to San Diego State and hello to the job market. Unfortunately, ever since the economy began to decline, many graduates do not know what to expect from employers upon entering the workforce.

There has been a growing trend in the length of time it takes for college students to graduate. In the past, the norm has been four years; however, according to data from SDSU Analytic Studies & Institutional Research, in 2005 62.8 percent of students graduated in six years or less. In 1999, 50.2 percent of students took six years to graduate. This data shows students are taking longer to graduate. Yet, the question still remains: What does the current job market have in store for prospective graduates when they can no longer extend their educational careers?

According to a study released by John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, the median starting salary for college graduates from four-year universities in 2009 and 2010 was $27,000, compared to $30,000 from those who joined the work force in 2006 to 2008.

According to Andrew M. Sum, a labor analyst at Northeastern University who conducted a study for the Labor Department in 2009, certain majors have more luck finding jobs that require a college degree. In his report, 55.6 percent of average college graduates found jobs that demanded a college degree; while 22 percent were working jobs that didn’t require a college degree and 22.4 percent were not employed. He found that 68.5 percent of students with computer science and math degrees found jobs that required a degree, while only 45.4 percent of students with a degree in humanities were able to find a job that required a college degree.

While the future may seem uncertain, 62 percent of students agreed that continuing their education was essential to surviving in the job market. However, others believed holding an internship during college gave them an advantage during job hunting.

According to the Heldrich Center, the salary rate for those who held an internship during college was an average of $34,680, compared to $28,000 for those who didn’t.

In the same report, some students expressed the feeling they should have done more during their time in college.

Of those surveyed, 48 percent said they wished they had been more careful about choosing their majors, while others mentioned they should have applied for internships and worked part time.

While graduation may seem far away for many, it is never too early to start preparing for the future. As the job market becomes more competitive, applying for internships and seeking work in relevant fields can open the doors students need to step into more fulfilling careers.