Graduates hope for pomp and … jobs

By Staff Staff Writer By Michael Kanell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (MCT) Odds are improving…

Georgia (May 15, 2013) — By Staff


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Staff Writer

By Michael Kanell

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (MCT)

Odds are improving that new graduates’ next stop will not be their parents’ basements.

Hiring isn’t strong, but it sure looks better than it has since the economy tipped into recession a little more than five years ago.

“For sure, I thought I would graduate with a job — definitely,” said Morgan Woodbury, 22, a senior at Kennesaw State University. “I think the job market is good right now.”

Job growth isn’t absorbing all of these new graduates, said Phil Gardner, director of the Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University. “There has been steady improvement but it’s not enough to clear the new grad market. We need some double-digit (job) growth.”

Still, the hiring outlook is improved. In 2009, when most of this year’s grads started college, the unemployment rate was cresting at 10 percent nationally. Since then, the national rate has ticked down to 7.5 percent in April.

And the job market is better on average for college graduates. Among people with at least a bachelor’s degree, the jobless rate is 3.9 percent.

Another hopeful sign: starting salaries for grads nationally are up 5.3 percent this year, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The biggest pay boost comes in the health care sector, while the highest starting salaries go to engineers, according to the NACE survey.

Business hires are averaging 7 percent more than a year ago.

Technology and finance are among the hotter sectors.

Grads with liberal arts degrees have to show that their skills “are transferable” to business needs, said Emory University senior Alexi Lauren New, 21, who majored in sociology and anthropology. With so many unemployed Americans, companies can be very selective, so that argument is not an easy one, she said. “I think it’s a tough market out there.”

There is risk for graduates who do not find a position fairly quickly.

Going without a job — or taking a poor-paying position you’re overqualified for — may handicap a young employee’s economic potential, said Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and author of “Working Scared (Or Not at All).”


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit